(11am, Saturday 6 September 2014, Sydney Square)
Hello, everyone. Thank you for coming and showing you care about our City. I want to first of all acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and I also acknowledge the 200 nationalities who live in our city.
Why are we here?
This rally is about corruption of our democracy.
The Elephant Shooters Party has a Bill before Parliament which the Premier says his Government will support!
Under the pretence of making it easier for businesses to vote, the Bill undermines a fundamental principle of our democracy - one vote, one value.
Under the Shooters Bill the big end of town will get two votes and you will get just one.
The Shooters and the Liberal Party argue that business pays more rates so they should get more votes.
The Bill will also transfer responsibility for running the election from the independent NSW Electoral Commission to the City - which is like asking the Premier's Department to run State elections!
Can you imagine the corruption and political interference that could be transferred to local elections?
All this is at a time when there is a stench of developer donation corruption hanging over this government which is being played out in the ICAC day-by-dayâ€”wouldn't you think they would get their own house in order before mucking up ours.
I lead a Council that does not make decisions based on what's inside brown paper bags!
This Bill is aimed at a Council that is corruption free, debt free and with a strong financial position.
We don't flog our assets, we plan for the future, build infrastructure, provide excellent services and we look after our most vulnerable, including giving free rates to pensioners.
Our CBD generates $100 billion worth of economic activity and that's 22 per cent of the State's economy.
We're one of the fastest growing residential areas in NSW and in the last five years secured 40 per cent of all jobs growth in metropolitan Sydney.
And importantly we take action to address climate change - and there's the rub and that's why we are the target of right wing shock jocks and the tabloid media! They want our environmental programs cancelled; our bike lanes pulled out and our cultural and arts programs stopped!
The Liberal Party with the help of the Shooters is targeting the City because they think they will get control of City Government if they give the big end of town extra votes.
They want to be able to sell off our assets and stop our progressive policies.
They want to install someone at Town Hall that they can make the phone call to - to do the deal, to get that favour done, the development approved. They want to be able to turn Sydney into another Barangaroo.
The only thing standing between what they want and the future of our city is YOU!
Tell the Premier hands off our city, hands off our democracy! And tell him that a city that's a good place to live is also a good place to do business in!
Thank you for being here. Thank you for your support.
CLOSING REMARKS & CALL TO ACTION
So what can you do?
If you haven't already done so, please sign a postcard and give it back to any of the volunteers here today.
Volunteers are now handing out signs that say "One Vote One Value" - and in a moment Nell will ask you to hold those up and we'll take photos to make sure the Premier knows the level of concern.
Next week is critical.
You have the power to make your voice heard and to drown out the vested interests.
Write letters to the editor and call radio stations, use social media, contact the Premier and the bewildered Minister for Local Government - and encourage everyone you know to do the same.
Make your vote count at the Ballot Box in March next year.
It's time to take a stand. Progressive Government in our City is worth fighting for!