Government threatens democracy

The state government is considering a proposal that would severely restrict the choice of voters when electing local councillors and Members of Parliament.

Under the proposal, MPs would be prevented from contesting local elections, and serving councillors would be forced to resign if they are elected to parliament. Where this occurred, communities would have reduced representation on their local councils, until the next Council elections, which could be up to 18 months away.

The State Government's discussion paper, Dual Roles: Councillors as Members of Parliament in NSW, invites comments on the question "Should mayors and councillors who are also Members of Parliament be eligible to stand for local government elections?"

I encourage you to make a submission before the closing date of 31 January 2012.

My own submission will argue that the proposal will have a significant impact on representative democracy and our parliamentary system. Many other significant changes can only be made by referendum. Similarly, this change should only be made if it is approved at a referendum.

I will also point out that my role and workload are comparable to that of a Minister - however the synergies are better - the people of Sydney are my electorate and my portfolio is the city.

My role enables me to be more effective - advocating and taking action in Parliament for the Sydney community (for example Private Members Bills on small bars, sale of backpacker vehicles and strata reform) and working in the City to deliver on the ground results.

Over four successive elections the people of Sydney have confirmed me as their elected representative for both roles.

I choose to donate my Lord Mayoral salary to charity. Since 2004, nearly one million dollars has been used to funds projects that enable people who are mentally ill, drug or alcohol dependent or socially disadvantaged to rebuild their lives; to assist homeless people or young people at risk; to promote animal welfare and to promote community, environmental and sustainability initiatives.

Information

  • Dual Roles: Councillors as Members of Parliament in NSW Discussion Paper: www.dlg.nsw.gov.au - from the home page click on "Publications" on the menu at the left. The paper is at the top of the list of publications.
  • Submissions should be sent to: Dual Roles Discussion Paper, Division of Local Government, Locked Bag 3015, Nowra NSW 2541, email: dlg@dlg.nsw.gov.au or fax: 02 4428 4199

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