I have been working on the Local Council elections in NSW at the same time as women seriously started to Destroy The Joint (for the second time).
These two lasting interests of mine, politics and feminism, have come together with the great win (it appears) of Clover Moore in local politics. She was, I think personally, targeted by NSW legislation which did not permit her to continue in dual roles of local mayor and member of the NSW Parliament.
I am convinced that we need to abolish state parliaments and have stronger local councils. In that way both local and federal needs could be met and the idiotic and unnecessary competition between states could disappear (and could perhaps merely be played out enthusiastically in sport) and we could get on with living co-operatively as a Commonwealth.
The fact that now Clover Moore has had to resign her role in state parliament to stand in the local government elections appears ridiculous.
It was brought home to me handing out flyers when I was considering seriously the difference in financial support for the individual candidates as well as the poor remuneration of the local councilors, which means they must have other jobs or financial support elsewhere. I looked at the areas in which many of them work. Many are business people, some are obviously very wealthy and fund their campaigns themselves overtly and (perhaps just a few) covertly. Others are less wealthy, have to rely on committed volunteers and struggle. It is, at times, a minor version of the workings of US politics.
The other thing I am aware of is that, not only were over 30 members of the NSW parliament also councilors until recently, but some of those standing in the local elections had been defeated in NSW elections or pre-selection ballots. There is definitely a strong overlap here of people interested in issues more local than are under the auspice of our national government. This has been the case for years and what is wrong with it? If we are to have three tiers of government it seems logical to encourage overall interest in local issues within each state. To be a politician would appear to be an ideal occupation to maintain a highly developed skill base that helps the representative to be able to manage politics in a similar area with less conflict of interest than if he or she were a business person in that area. But no, the State Government has had other views.
If there is some difficulty in having local issues recognised as compatible with state issues doesn’t this go to support the notion that we should just abolish that intermediate historical anomaly, the state governments? This would allow local governments to be stronger, the councilors to be better paid and so less vulnerable to subconsciously considering their own fiscal interests in making local decisions. No the State Governments do not want to do that.
For years people have been able to hold the duel role. Then a woman came along, a strong woman who strongly held a belief that local government was important. And she made a local splash as mayor as well as being an elected representative in the NSW Parliament . What could they do about her? She was a threat to the importance of this still, after 94 years, very male dominated anachronistic institution, the NSW Government, so they legislated to prevent her holding both positions.
Come on destroyers. Let’s destroy the NSW State Government while we are at it!