(John Passmore Museum)
Welcome and thank you for coming today to support my State re-election campaign.
I would like 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, and thank Elinor and Andrea Wrobel for hosting today's event in your wonderful John Passmore Museum of Art.
I have known Elinor for many years, as an activist, a resident, curator of this museum and the Lucy Osburn-Nightingale Foundation Museum of nursing heritage at the Sydney Hospital.
I was proud to nominate Elinor as Bligh Woman of the Year in 2005.
Elinor and Andrea have very generously provided the catering for this event, donated an artwork for the raffle prize and invited all of us to view their private art collection as well as the works in the Passmore Museum. It is one of the most important and impressive private collections in Australia.
This State election is critical for our future.
We are so far behind in action on global warming and there's a growing backlog of vital infrastructure needed for our city and state.
There's a lack of decisiveness on land use planning and priorities and communities excluded from say in their neighbourhoods while many still fight for fairness and equal rights, and the welfare of animals is sadly not yet on the radar of the 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 is 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. Truly disturbing however is the behind the scenes manipulation of the parties and their leaders by people we don't elect and whose agendas we aren't told about. We know about Sussex Street and Labor, but how much influence will the extreme Christian right have on the Coalition?
Recently the Daily Telegraph published two maps, one a sea of red indicating current Labor held seats, and another predicting a sea of blue. In both maps resplendent in independent white, was Sydney, the seat of state government, the global financial centre of Australia, and with what I proudly claim to be the most progressive and diverse constituency.
To the parties I thought it must be like red rag to a bull! Then I considered what would it be like if Sydney went back to Labor or Liberal?
Sydney would not be experiencing its small bars renaissance and there would be nowhere to drink other than big beer barns. Same sex couples would not be able to adopt their children. Parliament would never have considered how the pet industry treats animals and strata law reform would remain in the "too hard" basket. Cycle lanes and light rail wouldn't be an agenda as a transport option. The showground would have been sold off and the Finger Wharf demolished.
And what about the future?
We need a legislated commitment to combat climate change and to integrate public transport to cope with the growing population.
Our food basin has to be saved from urban sprawl and mining degradation.
Planning and development has to involve community input again.
We need strata reform and affordable housing for essential workers.
Same sex couples should have equal rights, animals should be protected from harm, and alcohol-fuelled violence should be reined in.
Serving in both levels of government makes me much more effective.
As Lord Mayor of Sydney, I get the attention of both government and opposition, and I am in a position to present to both sides of the House the City's excellent professional work - particularly Sustainable Sydney 2030 with its ambitious 70% greenhouse gas reduction target, as well as our transport planning.
We show and hopefully shame the State by doing.
The City is implementing our plan for local electricity powered initially by natural gas and subsequently by waste. We have an affordable housing program. We are building bike paths and we work with an animal shelter to re-home lost and abandoned pets that has a lowest euthanasia rate in Sydney.
You can't trust either party with our public estate.
Our successful rally strongly supported by you succeeded in foiling the grab by the SCG for Moore Park. But the threat is still there, including pressure from the sporting clubs to reintroduce car parking onto Moore parklands landscaped after the building of the Eastern Distributor.
These are the sole issues that are important to me and I believe they are important to you, our City and the State.
So thank you again for supporting our campaign to keep Sydney in our hands!
Thank you also for doorknocking; staffing street stalls; working in the campaign office; putting posters up and helping organise this independent community-run campaign - and for the long hours you will put in on election day. Thank you especially today for the work of our fundraising committee; Kay, Sheba, Peter and Leonie. Running and funding an Independent community campaign is a tough call and I could not continue to do it without your wonderful support and practical action. Thank you Peter - supportive in this our 11th campaign and the fabulous staff at my Electorate Office and the Office of the Lord Mayor.