Media release 24 Sept 2014
The Labor-Liberal alliance on Marrickville Council last night voted to elect conservatives for both Mayor and Deputy positions. Despite an offer that would have ensured an ALP Mayor, the three Labor Councillors voted for Clr Mark Gardiner as Mayor and Clr Morris Hanna as Deputy. Clr Gardiner was one of two Liberals elected for the first time to Marrickville Council in 2012. Last Friday he announced he was becoming an independent.
“The Greens’ Councillors were so concerned about the conservative takeover of what has previously been a strong, progressive Council that we had offered to vote for a Labor Mayor this year,” said Greens Mayoral nominee Sylvie Ellsmore.
Over the previous two years of the Council term, the first time that Liberals have been elected to Marrickville Council, the Greens have consistently raised concerns about development decisions being approved that exceed or short-cut Council planning laws.
Clr Ellsmore said, “Our offer did not require the Labor Councillors to vote for a Greens Mayor, but instead asked Labor commit to some basic outcomes for the community, including greater transparency in development decision making.
“Last night’s decision shows local Labor would rather have a conservative mayor than risk shining a light on some of the recent development decisions of this Council.
“This was a disgraceful ceding of control over a Council with a proudly progressive history to conservatives – and in exchange for what? The ALP clearly had to offer so much to the conservatives through the deal that they were unable to field a candidate for even the Deputy Mayoralty position,” said Clr Ellsmore.
The Greens are aware that the deal between Labor, the Liberals and the Conservative independents was personally brokered by the local MP and ALP faction heavy, Anthony Albanese.
Clr Ellsmore said, “This is a decision with significant consequences. It is a worrying sign for local progressive voters that this is how “Local Labor” does business, and how far they will go to avoid real transparency.”
The outgoing Mayor and Marrickville Councillor Jo Haylen is Labor’s candidate for the state seat of Summer Hill and helped broker the arrangement with the Liberal Party. Former Marrickville Councillor Penny Sharpe is Labor’s current candidate for the new State seat of Newtown.
“In the inner city, as across the State, it is clear just how much the major parties have in common. The Greens will continue to hold the new Mayor to account, and to work with the community to win back respect and trust in our democracy,” said Clr Ellsmore.
Media contact: Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213
The Greens on Marrickville Council have four elected Councillors. There are three Labor Councillors, two Conservatives Independents and, until Councillor Gardiner’s official resignation from the Liberals last week, two Liberals.
Newly elected Councillor Mark Gardiner has previously clashed with the Greens after his unsuccessful bid to shut down the Newtown community markets. For more information see Oct 2013 post “Newtown Markets Saved!”
In 2013 the ALP made any arrangement to elect one of the Liberal Councillors Deputy Mayor in exchange for Liberal support for an ALP Mayor. See September 2013 post “Labor-Liberal Alliance on Marrickville Council continues”
In 2012 the ALP made an arrangement with the Liberals to support one of the Conservative Independent as Mayor with an ALP Deputy.