Albury and Wodonga councils entering into a new relationship had the air of a marriage about it

We do: Mayors Kevin Mack and Anna Speedie sign the Two Cities One Community Partnership Agreement. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
We do: Mayors Kevin Mack and Anna Speedie sign the Two Cities One Community Partnership Agreement. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

WHILE the nation contemplates changing the definition of marriage, Albury and Wodonga councils have embarked on their own version of a new union.

With flags as a backdrop (although not the rainbow one), councillors gathered at The Cube in Wodonga to join together.

Though it was not your traditional municipal marriage, AKA a merger.

Instead it was more of a commitment ceremony.

The councillors gathered on the theatre’s stage with each group filling one side of an arc, like families in a church at a wedding.

Two for one: Albury councillors were to the left and their Wodonga counterparts were to the right as they gathered at The Cube for separate meetings to pass a formal agreement.

Two for one: Albury councillors were to the left and their Wodonga counterparts were to the right as they gathered at The Cube for separate meetings to pass a formal agreement.

Mayors Kevin Mack (Albury) and Anna Speedie (Wodonga) then chaired meetings of each council (no prayer for Wodonga).

Invited to have their say on the union, Albury’s councillors were full of good wishes, before Wodonga pair Libby Hall and Tim Quilty punctured the bonhomie.

Cr Hall dared to suggest there could be a split some day, while Cr Quilty hinted folks in his city would not be hanging about if it proved a marriage of inconvenience.

But their concerns would not derail the deal.

Indeed it was preordained with a Two Cities One Community website ready to go live, although it took three attempts to play its video on The Cube’s screen.

Then came the crowning moment.

Cr Speedie and Cr Mack sat together and watched by their colleagues they ratified partnership papers.

They could have been taken for a bride and groom signing their marriage certificate such was their glow.

Sealed with a kiss and a handshake: Kevin Mack and Anna Speedie celebrate the signing of a partnership between their two cities.

Sealed with a kiss and a handshake: Kevin Mack and Anna Speedie celebrate the signing of a partnership between their two cities.

That was before the media descended. 

Asked by The Border Mail about Cr Quilty’s comment that common sense and local government don’t sit comfortably together, Cr Mack said “Tim’s a bit of a joker”.

“We all have a bit of levity in this situation because we’re pretty excited about it happening,” he said.

Like a wedding there were then photos before a reception with a food laden table.

Some of the guests, who included politicians Cathy McGowan, Bill Tilley and Greg Aplin and mayors David Wortmann and Heather Wilton, lingered while others left quickly.

Interested onlookers: Politicians Greg Aplin and Cathy McGowan watch on as Albury and Wodonga councillors agree to work together.

Interested onlookers: Politicians Greg Aplin and Cathy McGowan watch on as Albury and Wodonga councillors agree to work together.

Now we await to see if this union is one for the ages or the cities would have been better off remaining in a de facto relationship.