What exactly does Jane Smith mean by “restoring local democracy” and why do we need a working group to tell us how to go about it (“Jane Smith calls for working group to restore local democracy”, CCN 296)?
The term “restoring” must imply that local democracy once existed but has been lost, but, if it is suggested to be anything like the local democracy practised when she was our full-time, paid Mayor, I think we can well do without any advice in which she is involved.
The Local Government Act defines all the matters related to local government, and, as soon as we are allowed to vote again, our democratic rights will be restored in exactly the same way as they apply to every other citizen of the state.
Since Jane Smith was one of those principally responsible for our losing our democratic rights so disastrously, it takes some chutzpah for her to put herself forward as the one to guide us to the state of democratic perfection we’d all like to see.
Perhaps she intends to draw up an entirely new blueprint for the operation of local government in NSW, conforming to her particular democratic ideas, although, on the face of it, it is difficult to see what qualifications she has for such an ambitious task.
I believe the Local Government Association has long had similar ambitions, but little of what it proposes ever makes it past the Ministerial filter (roadblock?), so what authority can anyone attribute to her new fly-by-night group?
It is easy to call for local democracy but difficult to activate the ponderous machinery of government to accept real change.
If her group can come up with radical new ideas for democratic representation, what mechanism can she devise for having them put in place?
Of course, what seems to be exercising her most in her new-found fervour for reform is the possibility that the Minister will bar her from again running for Council in September 2022.
Such an eventuality wouldn’t trouble me particularly.
Email, Jun 14
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy