BAIRD GOVERNMENTS AMALGAMATION AGENDA TRIGGERS HUGE VOTER BACKLASH AT FEDERAL BY-ELECTION DEC 5 2015
SHHMC was very active in the lead up to the North Sydney Federal By-Election held on Dec 5 th 2015.
Although a Federal By-Election (caused by the unexpected early retirement of the Federal MP for North Sydney), the by-election was held at the exact point in time that the Baird Government was deliberating on forced amalgamations across councils in NSW, including those in the North Sydney Electorate – which included Hunters Hill. The Liberal Candidate was president of the NSW State Liberal party.
This by-election was used by voters to express their anger and opposition to forced amalgamations.
FIERCE OPPOSITION TO AMALGAMATION WAS EVIDENT DURING THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Early pre-polling indicated a huge swing against the Liberal Government due to council merger backlash:
LIBERAL VOTE CRASHES – ALAN JONES
MEET THE CANDIDATES LANECOVE PLAZA NOV 29 2015 – VIEWS EXPRESSED ON FORCED AMALGAMATION
Candidates were all vocal on their position regarding amalgamations durimg the campaign – including Trent Zimmerman – the Liberal candidate who campaigned hard against his own State Liberal Parties forced amalgamation policy.
MaryAnn Beregi (Independent)
William Bourke (Sustainable Population Party)
Dr Arthur Chesterfield Evans (Greens)
Silvana Nero (Christian Democrats)
Trent Zimmerman (Liberal Party)
THERE WAS AN UNPRECEDENTED SWING AGAINST THE LIBERAL PARTY AT THE BY-ELECTION
There has been a huge swing against the Liberal Government in the North-Sydney By-Election of 13.5% on primary votes.
This swing was even more dramatic in Hunters Hill, with a massive 17% of voters switching their votes away from the Liberal Candidate – Something unprecedented in this normally safe Liberal seat.
As Trent Zimmerman has identified, the predominant issue driving this switch, had less to do with Malcolm Turnbull, or Joe Hockey – and more to do with dissatisfaction with the NSW Liberal Party (of which Trent Zimmerman is President) and it’s forced council amalgamation agenda, which it is inflicting on unwilling communities all across NSW. See Here
A pre-poll survey commissioned by Save Our Councils revealed that some 27% of voters in this electorate would consider changing their vote based on this issue alone. It now appears that many of them did.
The opposition to forced mergers is not a matter of conservative voters sticking their heads in the sand. This is a matter of highly educated and aware local residents examining the issue and coming to the conclusion that the forced amalgamation agenda that the NSW Liberal Government is driving, is destructive to local communities across NSW, unnecessarily wasteful of money and resources, and strategically mis-directed in terms of delivering needed reforms.
Hunters Hill residents have voted overwhelmingly against forced council amalgamations, as have many other local communities all across NSW.
Instead, in Hunters Hill, residents have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a Joint Regional Alliance with neighbouring councils Ryde and Lanecove. The “Regional Alliance” Model is a more progressive response to local government reform that builds on the existing, proven and successful ROC (Regional Organisation of Councils) Model, to deliver shared services and efficiencies and scale, without disempowering local communities, without loss of local representation and accountability, and without the costs, disruption and dis-economies of scale involved with forced council mega-mergers.
This approach, unlike the forced amalgamation approach – has the support of leading academics, as well as the bi-partisan Upper House Standing Committee into Local Government reform. It also has the overwhelming majority support not only of the Hunters Hill community but also the communities of Ryde and Lanecove.
However, the bullish, intimidating, undemocratic attitude of the State Liberal Government, which appears to be pushing ahead with it’s forced amalgamation agenda, against all publicly available expert advice -and against the expressed wishes of many local communities – has seen trust in, and respect for the NSW State Liberal Government plummet to an all time low in Hunters Hill.
This lack of trust and respect, has been further compounded by the blantantly flawed and biased IPART “Fit for the Future” process, which the Government has mis-used to justify its bullish approach. This process has been rubbished, not only by Hunters Hill Councils expert advisors, but also by highly respected academics and the Bi-partisan Upper House Inquiry into the Fit For The Future process, and Local Government reform.
With many communities, such as Mosman, Woollahra, Holroyd and Strathfield in the city, and Oberon, Cabonne, Gundagai, and many others in regional NSW – loudly expressing the same attitude and concerns as Hunters Hill, it can be anticipated that the NSW Liberal Governments council merger agenda is driving a similar, if not even more profound crash in Liberal / National support, not only in marginal seats – but also in many previously safe liberal seats throughout Sydney and NSW.
SOCC AND SHHMC ANTI-AMALGAMATION ELECTION CAMPAIGN
NORTH SYDNEY BY-ELECTION DEC 5Th 2015
THE NORTH SYDNEY BY-ELECTION IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO VOICE YOUR CONCERN OVER THE UNDEMOCRATIC ACTIONS OF THE LIBERAL PARTY, AND IT’S NORTHERN SYDNEY MP’s – almost all of whom have abandoned their local communities, failed to represent their constituents, back-tracked on prior promises and commitments, and are seeking to force an ill-advised minority agenda of forced mega-amalgamations on residents right across Northern Sydney.
Is this the sort of representation you want in Federal parliament??
GET TO KNOW THE CANDIDATES AND WHERE THEY STAND ON AMALGAMATIONS, AND ON TRUE REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY.
Anointed Liberal Candidate Trent Zimmerman – HE wants your vote for the Liberal Party – but, he is also President of the NSW STATE Liberals – the party that is relentlessly pursuing the undemocratic forced amalgamation agenda.
At the MEET THE CANDIDATE FORUM in LANECOVE Trent “stressed that although a Liberal candidate, his election will see him oppose the Baird Liberal Government’s Fit For The Future threat to abolish our local democracy”. He stated “I am opposed to forced council amalgamations and if elected I will continue to put pressure on our State MPs and on the State Government,” TWT Dec 2 2015.
- However – it should be noted that as President of the State Liberals Trent is already in a position to “oppose the Baird Liberal Governments Fit For The Future threat” and to put pressure on the State Government over this issue. Yet what has he done? What evidence is there that he is prepared to act?
- Unfortunately for Trent, there is an extreme lack of trust of the State Liberal party over this issue – particularly on the North Shore where Liberal MPs, once elected have virtually all turned their backs on their electorates, their local branches, and in many cases their earlier commitments.
READ This Sydney Morning herald article: “WHY I’M PUTTING TRENT ZIMMERMAN LAST ON NORTH SYDNEY BY ELECTION BALLOT” to understand why Liberal Party Supporters are urging people NOT to vote Liberal. Quote –
“The outcome of the by-election will have no impact on the passage of legislation. It could, however, be a historic milestone for the NSW Liberal Party, which is bogged down in a morass of factional enforcers protecting an unprincipled collection of lobbyists and substandard MPs. This oligarchy is stridently anti-democratic..”
CANDIDATES THAT HAVE A STRONG ANTI-AMALGAMATION STANCE, AND WHO SUPPORT TRUE REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY INCLUDE: (In alphabetical order)
Sustainable Population Party candidate William Bourke is a marketing consultant backed by iconic Australian Dick Smith and campaigns on the issues of affordable housing and over population, with the motto of “Better Not Bigger”. TWT DEC 2 2015
“Major property developers are donating to major parties. Major parties are then running high population growth policies. It’s local communities that are pushing back, through their local council. Therefore, the major parties want to destroy the local community and the local council”
The Greens have been stridently anti-forced amalgamations, and strongly supportive of participatory local democracy, “boots on the ground” not only in Sydney but all across NSW. View their position here
DR CHESTERFIELD EVANS said “The Greens are opposed to the Baird Government’s Fit For The Future regime of forced amalgamations and he said he was angry Premier Baird refuses to listen to the people on this issue”. TWT 2 Dec 2015
The Christian Democrats have been strong advocates of No Forced Amalgamations, and have acted on this – and stood firm – with other upper house MPs to block the passage of any legislation that would make it easy for the Baird Government to force councils to amalgamate without going through the Boundaries Commission.
The wife of Christian Democrats founder the Reverend Fred Nile MLC, Silvana Nero strongly opposes any forced amalgamation of our local councils and warned residents not to believe the Baird Government’s claim their local council is unfit for the future. – TWT Dec 2 2015