Over recent weeks there has been a lot of discussion about the State Government's plans to ban members of State Parliament also serving as local councillors.
If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to make a submission on the State Government's discussion paper, Dual Roles: Councillors as Members of Parliament in NSW, before 31 January.
The discussion paper asks "should mayors and councillors who are also Members of Parliament be eligible to stand for local government elections?"
If the State Government gets its way, MPs would be prevented from contesting local elections, and serving councillors would be forced to resign if they are elected to parliament. This will severely restrict the choice for voters when electing local councillors and Members of Parliament.
My submission will argue that the proposed change should only be made if a referendum shows the majority of the public support it, as these changes will have a significant impact on representative democracy and our parliamentary system.
My responsibilities and workload as Lord Mayor and MP 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. Through advocacy in parliament and working in the City to deliver on-the-ground results, I have effectively dealt with issues such as community safety, homelessness and housing, bars and our late night economy, sale of backpacker vehicles and strata reform.
Unlike Ministers, I am an independent MP - free from party direction. I act purely for our local community and I am able remain consistent on important issues. The position I take on the issues facing Sydney is the same whether I act as Lord Mayor or state MP.
I choose to donate my Lord Mayoral salary to charity. Since 2004, nearly one million dollars has been used to fund projects to help people who are mentally ill, drug or alcohol dependent or socially disadvantaged to rebuild their lives; to promote animal welfare and to promote community and environmental initiatives.
Over four successive elections the people of Sydney have confirmed me as their elected representative for both roles. I thank you for your ongoing support.
- Dual Roles: Councillors as Members of Parliament in NSW Discussion Paper is available, click HERE, or visit the Division of Local Government website www.dlg.nsw.gov.au.
- Submissions should be sent to: Dual Roles Discussion Paper, Division of Local Government, Locked Bag 3015, Nowra NSW 2541, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax: 02 4428 4199.