Recent discussion about Liverpool councillors not living in the council area raises important democratic issues. Three non-Labor councillors now don’t live in the council area. Two were in that position when elected. This can only be because as non-residents the law lets them be on the roll as electors even though they don’t live here. The law lets people who own property or who are nominated by a company that owns property in the council area to vote here. So, because you have property you get to vote – and run in elections – when others can’t. It sounds very much like one rule for the rich and another for everyone else. It’s pretty undemocratic.
Response from Liverpool Council’s chief executive Kiersten Fishburn: Any change to the rules regarding who can stand for local government elections would require action from the NSW Parliament. At its November 2018 meeting the council resolved to make representations to have the ability to stand in local government elections limited to ratepayers and residents to ensure elected representatives have a stake in the area.
Response from Fairfield Council: The electoral roll is managed by the NSW Electoral Commission. To be eligible to be a candidate in local government elections, a candidate must either live in the area, own a rateable property or be a ratepaying lessee of land in the area.
Liberal Holsworthy MP Melanie Gibbons is the essence of “too little, too late”. Fresh from discovering overdevelopment as an issue having ignored it for years, she’s finally said something about commuter car parks at Edmondson Park station, having resolutely ignored it since her election eight years ago. Labor MPs were raising this problem in Parliament three years ago, asking why parking stations weren’t built in conjunction with train stations. Formal election commitments were made by Labor to build parking mid last year. After waiting eight years, Ms Gibbons a few weeks before an election finally makes an announcement. Way too little, way too late.
Re: Both major parties promising $40m for another 700 spaces at Edmondson Park station, with full details yet to come. Is 700 spaces enough? And let’s not forget Leppington station. I plan a protest rally at Leppington station on February 23 to have people’s voices heard. Details at facebook.com/events/282411972438564. I’ll invite TV and politicians. Over 40 have already shown interest.
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