REVEALED: Antoniolli's trump card in election win
A MATCH made in heaven.
That is what the next Ipswich mayor Cr Andrew Antoniolli and his campaign manager Alli Grant proved to be for the duration of the past eight weeks.
They say that behind every successful man is a good woman and, apart from Cr Antoniolli's wife Karina, Ms Grant is that woman.
Ms Grant has a background in marketing, public relations and media and she put those skills to great use to assist Cr Antoniolli nail his key messages in the mayoral campaign.
"The main thing for me about the whole campaign and working with Andrew was that I never saw fear in his eyes," Ms Grant said on Saturday night as Cr Antoniolli stood on the cusp of victory.
"Whenever he would talk about transparency or talk about integrity or opening the (council) books with a forensic audit . . . there wasn't an ounce of fear.
"That hit home why I was there giving all of my time.
"I saw his passion. I saw his integrity. I saw a genuine desire to change things, and that is all we talked about."
There was an increasing sentiment, often expressed by other candidates and those who attended forums, that both sitting councillors in the mayoral race were somehow connected to, or knew about, the alleged activities of former mayor Paul Pisasale.
Both Cr Antoniolli and Cr Paul Tully made the point that those alleged activities were undertaken in the former mayor's private time and had no connection to them or the other councillors.
"It frustrated me to see everyone tarred with that same brush from a public perspective," Ms Grant said.
"But I would sit in a room with Andrew and see his genuine desire for doing things properly.
"I absolutely believed in him from the moment we sat down and had our first coffee. I said 'I'll give you a hand mate', and it has been my life for eight weeks.
"It has been an honour."
Cr Antoniolli said Ms Grant energised him when he needed it, kept his campaign on track and most importantly understood his message.
"If you are going to have someone as your campaign manager they have to be someone who has a similar passion to you for what you do and someone who understands you," he said.
"Alli got me straight away, and it just gelled.
"Election campaigns are like roller coasters. You have ups and down. My wife and Alli have been the right people to keep me focussed and keep the ship going in the right direction.
"Alli had the great ability to read the public sentiment.
"I like to think I am able to articulate my words well in the written form and Alli gets the way I story tell and the way I speak... my voice.
"She has been really good at mastering the speeches and media releases that are right for me.
"I wouldn't have been able to do it without her."
Ms Grant grew up in Ipswich, left when she was 21 and returned 12 months ago after an absence of 20 years.
"My mum and dad had stayed here but my dad had passed away so I came back to be close to my mum," she said.
"I decided that with whatever I did here I wanted to make a difference.
"The opportunity opened up to help Andrew, someone I really believed in.
"That then grew into helping the people and something more.
"I love that we were the underdog and I just had the faith we could do it."