Oct 5, 2011

Greens and Democracy

A Couple of weeks ago an edition of our local newspaper, the Southern Courier, carried an article on how the Greens considered that democracy was absent from our City and that how our current electoral system, overseen by the Electoral Commission of New South Wales, was indeed “deeply undemocratic” – to use the words of the Greens spokesperson on local government, David Shoebridge.

The fact is that, in this City, candidates must get the majority of votes to be elected.  Thus, elected members reflect the wishes of the majority of electors. To me, that is quintessential democracy.

But what failed to resonate to me the most in Mr Shoebridge’s comments was: “There wasn’t even an election in Botany.”

First, Mr Shoebridge, as you’re the spokesperson on local government, you might learn that we are the City of Botany Bay – not Botany.  But I suppose Greens MPs can never learn – they know everything there is to know when they drape themselves in their green cloak.

Next, it was not any action of this Council that led to all elected members being returned unopposed.  In our democratic system, anyone can nominate to stand for election.

But in our City to win election you must have majority support.

As far as the Greens are concerned (and they know everything, remember) they feel that they are entitled to be elected – on five per cent or ten per cent and not 50 per cent.
The superior knowledge of the Greens along with their self perceived and inherent entitlement to be elected on even the flimsiest vote is something that never fails to astound me.

But then I believe in democracy and its reflection of the will if the people.

One of our electors, a perceptive person from Rosebery, sent me a copy of a letter he had written to Mr Shoebridge. He said, and I’ll paraphrase, that he didn’t want “bloody Greens” to “stuff up” Council’s work. He added: “The people of Botany and Mascot don’t have to consult the Greens as to the democratic make up of Botany Bay City Council.” I couldn’t have expressed it better.

Each and every elected representative in this chamber is ready to face an election next year.  Maybe Mr Shoebridge would like to join us – but then he’d have to get more than five or ten per cent of the popular vote. Maybe that’s a step too far.

No comments:

Post a Comment