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5460(SMH) Greens sweep to victory in local polls + ... + Moore promises return of community spirit

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  • Nobby
    Mar 29, 2004
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      Greens sweep to victory in local polls

      By Anne Davies and Claire O'Rourke
      March 29, 2004

      [ Moore love: Sydney's new Lord Mayor Clover Moore celebrating her victory
      with her supporters. Photo: Wade Laube ]

      The Greens and the high-profile independent Clover Moore have crushed
      Labor's hopes of regaining control of local government in the inner
      suburbs of Sydney, as development issues and forced mergers drove voters
      to grassroots campaigners.

      In Leichhardt and Marrickville, the Greens were yesterday claiming a
      working majority through coalitions with independents.

      Leichhardt will now have a Green mayor, and for the first time Labor may
      have lost the mayoralty in Marrickville, although the position is
      determined by a vote of the council and will come down to negotiations
      with the independents.

      The Greens have now doubled their representation at local government with
      wins extending beyond the urban areas into regional councils such as
      Wagga, Orange and the far South Coast. Their newfound support will almost
      certainly guarantee them a second Green senator from NSW in the coming
      federal election.

      But in western Sydney, where state Labor might have feared a backlash on
      broader issues such as hospitals and transport, the party's vote held up
      well and in some places strengthened.

      In Fairfield, Labor increased its majority and Nick Lalich trounced his
      rivals to become a popularly elected mayor. In Burwood, Labor is claiming
      four of seven councillors and it has improved its position in

      In the race for the lord mayor of Sydney, Ms Moore, the state MP for
      Bligh, grasped 43 per cent of the primary vote, nearly double Labor's 23
      per cent.

      Counting of votes continued last night, with Ms Moore's team set to claim
      a total of four positions plus the lord mayoralty, which may give her a
      working majority on the 10-member council. If the majority eludes her, she
      will be able to rely on the Greens for support.

      The ALP's Michael Lee and Verity Firth were successful, as were the
      Greens' Chris Harris and a Liberal candidate, Shayne Mallard. The last
      position depends on a preferences battle between Labor's Tony Pooley, the
      former mayor of South Sydney, the independent and former state Liberal
      leader Peter Collins, and the independent Matt Laffan.

      Amid jubilant scenes at the Grand Hotel in Hunter Street on Saturday
      night, Ms Moore told supporters: "There is a rejection by the Sydney
      community of the thuggish sacking of a democratically elected council and
      the attempt to install a candidate who moved into our area last September
      - there's been a real rejection of that."

      Labor officials were playing down the rebuff to their candidate, Michael
      Lee. "It was like campaigning against Mother Teresa," one said. "We raised
      the two jobs, the links on her ticket to developers, but nothing mattered
      to the electorate."

      Mr Lee, now a councillor, promised to work constructively with Ms Moore's
      team and other councillors, including Ms Firth. "We'll be working in the
      interests of the people of Sydney."

      Ms Moore said she believed that those elected could work well together,
      and that the city would see a "devolution of power to communities".

      "It won't be a matter of me up there on a pedestal. It will be a team, and
      a team approach . . . It will be a different way of running the city than
      Frank Sartor's."

      The Property Council of Australia congratulated Ms Moore, but said the new
      council must move "beyond the barking dogs and backyard fence disputes".

      The Prime Minister, John Howard, told the Nine Network's Sunday program:
      "Clover Moore's election was just a deserved rebuke for the Labor Party
      under Bob Carr's rorting and amalgamation of South Sydney and Sydney



      Green belt expands a few notches

      By Anne Davies, Urban Affairs Editor
      March 29, 2004

      The Greens have stormed the town halls of Sydney's inner west and doubled
      their representation in local government in what they claimed yesterday
      was their best election result.

      Greens MP Sylvia Hale said the party had doubled its representation across
      the state.

      "It's a significant loss for the State Government with its bully boy
      tactics of forced council amalgamations and it's a significant loss for
      the development industry with its program of corrupting the political
      process with developer donations," she said.

      The biggest win for the Greens was on Marrickville Council, where they
      increased representation from three to four, outpolling the long-time
      Labor mayor, Barry Cotter, in his own ward.

      The Greens are hopeful of installing Sam Byrne as mayor, although this
      will depend on the final shape of the council, which then elects the

      At Leichhardt Municipal Council, where the Greens won four seats, the win
      came at the expense of independents. Green Jamie Parker, who won his
      second term, was hoping to become mayor with the support of independents,
      replacing long-time independent Maire Sheehan.

      The Greens also made headway in regional NSW, winning spots on Wagga Wagga
      and Orange city councils, where issues such as genetically modified crops
      and water rights loomed large.

      But the Greens' dream of securing the first popularly elected mayor at
      Byron Shire Council was still eluding them last night. Jan Barham was 137
      votes behind the independent candidate, Ross Tucker, with 4072
      second-preference votes and some postal votes still to be counted.

      "Its just too close to call," said a strained Greens MP Ian Cohen, who is
      assisting Ms Barham's campaign.

      The Labor Party may have suffered a humiliating defeat in the City of
      Sydney and losses in the inner west, but ALP officials were feeling
      chuffed about its results in heartland western Sydney, where it either
      held or strengthened its position in several of Sydney's largest councils.

      At Parramatta City Council, Labor has won back a majority; in Fairfield
      City Council the Labor mayoral candidate, Nick Lalich, won 65 per cent of
      the primary vote to become the first popularly elected mayor. In Bankstown
      City Council Labor held its position.

      A possible backlash over Liverpool City Council's handling of the Oasis
      development was averted by the sacking of the Labor-controlled
      municipality and a delay in elections.

      In western suburbs closer to the city, Labor also fared well. In the City
      of Canada Bay, Angelo Tsirekas secured 40 per cent of the primary vote in
      the first election for a popularly elected mayor, despite an unpopular
      amalgamation of the former Concord and Drummoyne councils in 2000.

      In Burwood Council, the ALP was hoping to regain a majority. In
      Strathfield and Ashfield municipal councils, it said it would hold its

      In Kogarah Municipal Council, the ALP said it was possible it will have
      four councillors, up from two, at the expense of Liberals and
      independents. The City of Rockdale was too difficult to call.

      "It's the Liberals who are the losers out of these results," an ALP
      official said.

      "They've gained ground in Sutherland at the expense of independents. But
      it's a very poor result. Look at Manly.

      "They lost 10 out of 11 booths. They have to win the state seat of Manly
      to win government in NSW."

      However, Liberal Party state director Scott Morrison said he was pleased
      with its winning control of Sutherland Shire Council.

      "It's important to us at the state level because Labor has [the state
      seats of] Miranda and Menai.

      "Labor did particularly badly. This was our most organised professional
      campaign," Mr Morrison said.



      Moore promises return of community spirit

      By Claire O'Rourke, Urban Affairs Reporter
      March 29, 2004

      The City of Sydney council is set to immediately review planning controls,
      develop a transport plan and audit public open space as Clover Moore's
      coalition of independent and Green councillors takes charge.

      In an interview with the Herald yesterday, the lord mayor-elect also
      pledged to smooth the amalgamation of the City and South Sydney councils,
      which took place only days before nominations closed last month.

      Among the items on the new council's agenda are finalising the next
      financial year's budget and deciding the future of the acting general
      manger, Robert Domm.

      Ms Moore, clearly excited by her elevation to the top job, which she won
      with almost double the Labor vote, said her council would quickly develop
      new ways to consult with the city's communities.

      She said she wanted the council to be open, consultative and involve the
      community, but also strong, responsible, financially prudent and

      Ms Moore ruled out resigning as the member for Bligh.

      "I've made a commitment to Bligh for four years and I will honour that
      commitment," she said. "I just see the role of mayor as making me even
      more effective in that role."

      The position of deputy lord mayor was undecided yesterday, and Ms Moore
      planned to meet her team last night.

      "There are a lot of official functions and I'm sure the councillors will
      be happy to be involved in those things . . . my attraction to the job is
      not the official part - the functions - it's the work," she said.

      The new council will be on a fast learning curve, with only Ms Moore, a
      former City and South Sydney councillor, and Liberal Shayne Mallard, a
      former South Sydney councillor, the only two candidates with experience
      sure to be elected. The former mayor of South Sydney, Tony Pooley, will
      fight it out with independents Peter Collins and Matt Laffan for the last
      council spot.

      Ms Moore said a number of controversial projects would be given urgent
      attention, including the redevelopments of Centrepoint and of the Carlton
      and United Breweries site on Broadway.

      New planning instruments would be developed, with an emphasis on
      prescriptive controls similar to those already in place in the old city
      area, she said.

      "The election was about outrage about what the Government had done but
      also fear," she said. "That had a lot to do with development and
      overdevelopment and the sort of planning they had in South Sydney."

      Ms Moore has outlined a vision of a city of villages, linked by bicycle
      and pedestrian paths and an expanded light rail system.

      It would be foolish for the Carr Government to seek control of the council
      by way of another sacking or changes to the Central Sydney Planning
      Committee, she said.

      She said she owed the twists in her career to the Labor Party. In 1980 she
      stood for South Sydney Council in protest at the services provided by the
      ALP Right-dominated council; soon after the Wran government merged the
      council with the City, giving her a seat on the larger council.

      In 1987 the council was sacked by the Unsworth government, spurring her to
      stand for the seat of Bligh. Now the Carr Government had precipitated
      another win.

      Ms Moore said her team of 400 supporters had run a magnificent community

      "The support came from everywhere. It was the most spontaneous and strong
      community campaign that I've been involved in," she said.

      A formal declaration of results is expected on Friday.

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