The NSW Government cancelled this week's debate on the Elephant Shooters Business Voting Bill and is now considering amendments.
While we don't know what the amendments are yet, this is a good first step and I commend the Government for listening to the overwhelming feedback from the community and business about the flawed Bill.
Earlier this week I called on the NSW Parliament to abandon the Shooters Bill after it was revealed on Tuesday that an independent review of the Victorian local government election process recommended major changes to business voting.
The review of Victoria's local government electoral system, chaired by former MP, respected senior Liberal Petro Georgiou, recommended abandoning the City of Melbourne electoral system, the same system the Shooters want to impose on Sydney.
The argument used by the Shooters has constantly been that 'Melbourne does it so we should follow suit' - this week we learnt that the Melbourne model of business voting could fundamentally be changed.
The key recommendations in the Georgiou report include:
- Corporations should have one vote - not two as proposed in the Shooters Bill;
- The Victorian Electoral Commission should be responsible for preparing the City of Melbourne roll, not the City's general manager - the Shooters Bill does the reverse - transferring responsibility from the NSW Electoral Commission to the City of Sydney CEO;
- Automatic enrolment of business voters should cease - Under the Shooters Bill business voters will be automatically enrolled without their consent.
Serious concerns had already been raised about the Shooters Bill, particularly the possibility that many small businesses may lose their right to vote.
Thank you to the hundreds of people who came to our meeting last weekend to show their support and to the thousands of people who have supported our #1vote1value campaign and stood up for our democracy.
We'll keep you informed about the future of the Bill when we know more.