Openly gay Adelaide city councillor Greg Mackie (pictured) is contesting a three-horse race for the Adelaide lord mayoralty.

Mackie is up against the incumbent, Alfred Huang, and Michael Harbison, who was the Liberal candidate for the seat of Adelaide in South Australia’s last state election.

Huang and Mackie have agreed to swap preferences for the popularly elected position, which is decided by postal ballot. Political commentators have suggested that the preference deal will shut Harbison out of the race, but Huang was more likely to be the eventual winner of the position.

An Adelaide city councillor since 2000, Mackie founded the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and has been a longstanding member of the Adelaide Writers’ Week committee, in addition to being an ardent supporter of the annual Feast festival.

Mackie told the Star he was receiving tremendous support from the queer and arts communities in Adelaide, as well as residents and the small business sector.

I bring the ideas, energy and creativity of another generation to council, Mackie told The Advertiser last week. I am a business man who is heart-smart and who respects and abides by the rules. Our community is looking for leaders with integrity and compassion -“ I believe that I am the best candidate for the job.

That same article quoted a fellow councillor, Anne Moran, who questioned whether Adelaide was ready for a gay lord mayor in safari suits.

Mackie said he did not in fact own any safari suits, but he was humbled by the metaphorical comparison to Don Dunstan -“ a comparison, he added, that he would not have made himself.

The result of the ballot is expected on 12 May.

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