Clover Moore, MP for and Mayor of Sydney, and Jamie Parker, MP for Balmain and former Mayor of Leichhardt, have, as is their wont, been playing the ‘woe-is-me’ victim card. See here, here and here. Faced with a reform that increases political checks-and-balances, provides better ways for voters to get help, and adds accountability to both Councillors and State MPs, their response has been kneejerk opposition and to put personality above process.
The NSW government is banning councillors from being state MPs at the same time. Contrary to claims, it is not about the Greens, not about Clover, and not about saving money. It is a good-government reform that eliminates conflicts of interest, ensures voters have somewhere to go to hold their councils accountable, and helps ensure we will never have the corruption and inequity of personal fiefdoms in local council areas.
29 MPs are affected. To listen to Clover, you’d think it was only one. It affects 17 Liberals, four times as many as any other party.
And the rule already exists in four other states.
When Independent Port Macquarie Mayor Greg Piper can deny any conflict of interest and say the roles ‘work together’, it is clear he has no understanding of how important checks and balances have been in the 400 year struggle for good government. James Madison and Federalist 51, one of the most important documents in the history of government? Irrelevant. Rotten boroughs in the UK? Tammany Hall in the US? Chicago? What about Wollongong a mere five years ago?
And local government is where it is most important. It’s easier for individuals to dominate small areas where there is close interaction with ordinary people and control over local businesses and land use.
This reform is long overdue. It should have been there from the start. That the Greens oppose it shows that they are willing to trash principle so long as it suits them, and subvert institutions to promote individual personalities. The smell from the supposed cleanskins is starting to rise above their media deodorant.