Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A day in the People's Parliament

To Read my Background and other Notices see ------------->

What a day. I must say I was quite comfortable sitting in the Parliament and come four weeks time with the support of the people of Liverpool I may be there for the next 4 years or more. Let's Do It Liverpool.

I was successful in the first session to have a resolution passed.: see the Telegraph's  tweet for the moment : 
*************@dailytelegraph   The People's Parliament has voted 40-24 for a referendum on any future changes to liquor laws. #nswvotes #peoplesparly  ****************

I had the occasion to request that this be a proposition to be put to the People's Forum. It was accepted and carried.

I pointed out that from 1916 through to 1954 there were several referenda put to the people to change the closing hours of the Hotels.  In1954 the people of NSW voted to change the closing hours to 10PM,  thus ending the notorious 6 o'clock swill. It was in the 1980's that that astute politician and current big business man Neville Wran, always in full communion with the workers, teamed up with the Liquor Industry and saw the late, late opening hours extended without reference to the people. I suggested that things are a mess now with young people going out at 10PM for their night out and getting home at pre-dawn hours. We then see them sleeping through daylight hours when they should be out enjoying our beautiful Australian elements. I suggested it is a bad habit, and one that can be changed.

I recommended to the people's forum that the decision on Liquor Hours should be held by the people to let their collective wisdom decide on what is good for our youth.

And so my first visit in the Legislative Assembly saw a policy developed by me adopted by the People's Parliament.   Indeed, I could get used to this.

I was disappointed there was no room for discussing the quality of governance and of the  participants in the political process in NSW. A process to improve the quality of politicians is to have Mayors elected by the people for a four year term rather them being elected annually by their peers on Council. It is a circus.

I led the campaign in Liverpool 25 years ago to have out Mayor elected by the people. We used a provision in the Local Government Act to force Councillors to give up their annual circus of electing the Mayor from amongst themselves. Mark Latham became our first elected Mayor in 1991, and proved a whirlwind of fine civic development and Council  reform in Liverpool.

Interestingly the 1993 Local Government Act had excised the provision we used in 1986 to force the issue. This displays how State Government is so entwined with local government interests because it is the training ground for the State House.

If I am elected on March 26th I will seek to move a Private Member's Bill to change the Local Government Act changed to have all Mayors elected by the people in 2012. There are 152 general purpose Councils in NSW, and 33 of these have their Mayor elected for a four year term by the people. There are another 5 Councils due to begin the process in 2012, after a 2008 Constitutional  Referendum.

The Bill will also contain the restriction that any Political Party that has representatives elected to a higher level of Government be not permitted to run or finance candidates at a lower level. This invokes the principle of subsidiarity - a fine governance principle coming out of Catholic Social Teaching. It will encourage people to organise at the local level and encourage leaders to rise without all of the political argy bargy that goes on today.

We need to improve the quality of political representative.

Well done to the Daily Telegraph for organising this superb and most worthwhile experience.

No comments: