Who Should Decide The Future Of Our City?

Linda_Scott_Mar_2014.jpg

Who should decide the future of our city?

How much weight should the opinions of:

  • those who live here
  • those who work here
  • those who invest here

have in electing the city council whose decisions have so much impact on the direction our city is going?

It’s an old question and one, which the conservative side of politics always answers in the interests of big business.

The City of Sydney is more than a business district. All great cities are. Great cities are made up of communities and neighbourhoods. The energy, the commitment, the passion of the people who live and who work within their boundaries is what makes them thrive and grow. 

These are the people whose lived experience makes them best qualified to judge what their city needs and how their city will prosper – and it is to their votes council should be accountable and to their voices that council should listen.

The proposed amendment to the City of Sydney Act will see those voices drowned out by the chorus of big businesses – many of them multinational corporations with only the most tenuous connection to our country, let alone our city.

It will take away the right of small and medium enterprises to choose to vote while compelling big corporations to nominate electors. And not only can those corporations be headquartered overseas – and still have their nominees voting in the City of Sydney elections – but they can have the bulk of their business overseas – and still have their nominees voting in the City of Sydney election.

And those nominees don’t have to be living or working in Sydney – they don’t even have to be living and working in New South Wales.

A corporation with headquarters in New York and 99% of its business in North America and Europe can have two people living in Perth voting to decide the future of Sydney – while someone here gets only one.

These proposed changes will take us back to the bad old days when the City of Sydney was a rotten borough, controlled by small numbers of wealthy absentee landowners. They could see as many as 80,000 extra votes in the next City of Sydney elections – votes controlled by corporations based in New York and London, in Singapore and San Francisco.

We thought those bad old days were gone when Labor introduced one vote one value in 1952, but the Tories never stop trying to bring them back.

Giving property developers, big business, and other sectional interests a new means to influence political decisions in Town Hall is absolutely absurd. We’ve all been watching ICAC. Do we really need to give big business a new way to try and bend our elected representatives to serve their bottom line?

These amendments are so badly drafted, so unclear on a number of levels, the City Of Sydney Council would face a nightmare of legal and electoral challenges.

The Liberals support for this badly drafted, ill-conceived and undemocratic Bill shows they are only focused on introducing a gerrymander with one aim – to get a Liberal politician elected as Lord Mayor.

Labor is fighting this attempt to drag us back to the days when money talked and residents couldn’t be heard.

You can help by signing the petition at:

http://www.pennyfornewtown.org.au/stop_the_rort

or

http://www.verityforbalmain.com/stop_the_rort

Speak up now, so the people of Sydney aren’t silenced tomorrow. 


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