SAY NO

The Liverpool City Council meeting on Monday 15th February has left me speechless for some time.  This marathon event did not finish until 11.35pm, and may I commend council staff for their dedication to their jobs. In regards to councillors’ behaviour however, I can make no such commendation. At times the meeting descended into farce; childish displays from some of our elected few, snide comments made to the Chair, Mayor Wendy Waller, silly comments, and failure to adhere to meeting protocols. Well below my expectation of my elected representatives. 

Anyone who has read my blog here at www.signe4liverpool.wordpress.com or articles on http://www.streetcorner.com.au, will know I’m not the Mayors biggest supporter, nor did I vote for the former Deputy Mayor and Financial Administrator who in 2004 was sacked along with that council, after losing a large amount of rate-payer funds in the now infamous Macquarie Bank / Canterbury Leagues (OASIS) debacle. However, Mayor Waller is OUR popularly elected Mayor, and was chosen by the citizens of Liverpool; her role as Chairperson at council meetings, regardless, MUST be respected. I can only imagine that the councillors feel they too have earned this respect. And yet, I cannot name a councillor who afforded Mayor Waller this respect at the last council meeting. A shameless and shameful display that begs reflection by these councillors, who seem to forget that they are elected to this role as OUR representatives. Councillors MUST behave in a manner appropriate to their office. It is to be expected that on some topics there will be disagreement. But lack of agreement should not give rise to immaturity and disrespect. The Councillors’ focus must always be on to what is in the best interest of the Liverpool ratepayers. Further, they all should be mindful of the fact that they too have been chosen as representatives of ALL Liverpool’s citizens and disrespect to their office through such behaviour is a disrespect to the people who put them in that office in the first place. 

After all, that is what the Councillors signed up for. There were one or two councillors who did not participate in this behaviour, and I acknowledge them for their adherence to protocol and general good manners throughout the meeting. I might also add that in the general wreckage it is difficult for me to point out the worst offenders and those who did not participate at all, such was the chaos, I will refrain from naming individuals.

 In the last few weeks, Councillor Harle has been quoted as saying the residents of Liverpool are generally unskilled and not fit for a university education; Councillors make personal attacks on private citizens for engaging in the community and council activities, a fundamental and precious right afforded all citizens in a democratic system; and, Councillor Hadchiti engages in petty politics and name calling on various online forums, least of which The Liverpool City Champion online. Add to this the disappointing behaviour & comments of Councillor Lucas at a community forum to guest speaker MLC Sylvia Hale.

This is a resounding “NO!” in response to this behaviour from one such citizen. 

What is most concerning; the new Liberalised Majority and renegade Labor Councillor McGoldrick supported Councillor Lucas’ motion to have council’s staff research the costs and process to have the matter of the MAYORAL ELECTION re-addressed. This faction of council proposes that a POPULARLY ELECTED MAYOR be scrapped in favour of a mayor voted for by elected councillors. I can only assume that these councillors feel that the people of Liverpool are ill-equipped to choose their own mayor. 

In 1987 the people of Liverpool went to the polls to vote in the referendum addressing the election of Mayor of Liverpool. An approximate 70% of Liverpudlians felt confident they could choose their own mayor. Now councillors want to stop the citizens from being able to do just that. 

Let us remind ourselves that one of the first acts of this council, when newly elected in 2008, was to INCREASE their own pay-packets by the maximum legislated percentage, and now they want to ensure that the top job is not left to the desire and preference of the citizens of our city, but to allow the party and factions with the majority to secure that position for themselves. 

In 1987 the referendum cost rate payers in the vicinity of $200,000.  Are the people of Liverpool satisfied with this as a use for their rates? Are the people of Liverpool so dissatisfied with the current situation of having the power to choose their own mayor? No. A few ill behaved councillors are dissatisfied with not having MORE POWER and care little for how council monies are used, unless it goes to giving them more money for expenses and trips, on which I have made comment  in the past. 

Liverpool, if you agree with me, get on the phone, ring each and every one of your elected councillors and voice your opinion. SAY “NO!” to the proposed motion to have councillors remove your right to choose who you want as Mayor of Liverpool. BEFORE they spend anymore of our rates money on this folly.
Fortunately, the people of Liverpool once again gave me cause to be thankful. Congratulations to the residents from Casula who spoke at the meeting in support of the Council’s decision to seek grant funding for the noise walls at Casula. Thank you to Councillor Harle for his presentation to councillors on the Mining Project at Prestons, which was informative and helpful. 

I continue to be made proud as I sit alongside those residents who attend, participate and become increasingly involved in the goings on of our City. In recent weeks there have been a number victories for residents’ groups, proving we can effect change in Liverpool, and work together towards a brighter future. Let the people of Liverpool make it very clear what that future will include, and what it will not.

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