(7.30pm, Tuesday, 16 October 2012, CafÃ© Dov)
I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.
All elections are important but this by-election is critical for our future, the environment and for the proper functioning of our city and state.
We are far behind in planned and effective action on global warming and there's a growing backlog of vital infrastructure needed for the optimum functioning and competiveness of our city and state.
There's a move to distance the community from the decision making process around developments and planning, we are still fighting issue by issue for fairness and equal rights and the welfare of animals is sadly not on the radar of the main political parties.
We are in this holding pattern because big policy and leadership under the political parties, Federal and State, has been steadily deteriorating. There seems to be no interest in long-term planning; no vision or investment in our future; and no action that could step on the toes of vested interests, or anger the shock jocks.
There is a loss of grass roots connection and broader community representation in our parliaments. And that's the way this Government wants it.
Even though 18 months ago you voted me in as your State Member, the O'Farrell government manipulated democracy by using his numbers and a secret deal with Fred Nile and the Shooters Party to force me out of Parliament.
The O'Farrell Government already controls 69 out of 93 seats in the Parliament - they want number 70!
But Sydney doesn't need another silent party backbencher who does what he or she is told and who is compelled to vote in-line with their party's interest not yours.
Think about it. Should this government really be rewarded for:
Savage cuts to education and health but more funds for clubs?
Appeasing developers by making it harder for the community to have their say on developments that threaten our residential amenity?
The approval of dangerous coal seam gas and uranium mining?
Removing government funding from Centennial & Moore Parks?
Talking light rail but planning motorways that dump traffic and congestion in the inner city?
Allowing shooting in our national parks?
Ignoring climate change?
The Parliament desperately needs a strong independent voice to stand up for the things that are important to the people who live in Sydney, and that is why I have endorsed Alex.
Alex is not a member of a party and is committed to community representation not political party ideology. He will make decisions based on the merits of each case, consultation with you and up-to-date expert information.
He will not be held to ransom by vested interests and he is not afraid to stand up for what is right and for your interests.
Alex knows and loves Sydney. He's lived here for over 20 years, alongside two generations of his family. He was raised and educated in the city centre. He runs a small business and is a nationally recognised community activist.
Alex and I share many values. Like me, he is deeply concerned about government transparency and accountability, protecting the natural environment, open space and Sydney's unique heritage, retaining inner city social and affordable housing, improving transport options, fairness and equality, and the humane treatment of animals.
It's a fact that no party politician can advocate for these issues the way a truly Independent politician can - we can't afford to lose our voice in Parliament.
This is a tough election - the Liberal Party are throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign and the Greens are spreading misinformation.
The stakes are high - we can't afford to lose Sydney to the major parties.
I urge you to please get involved, if you aren't already, and join us in our campaign to keep Sydney Independent!
Thank you for your support.