NSW elections: results that take us forward
- What we know of the NSW local election results adds up to a step forward for the further development progressive politics. The Lib-Lab status quo has been shaken up, the Greens are on course to double their representation across NSW from 28 councillors to more than 50, and Clover Moore has swept elections for Mayor of Sydney making a Moore independents-Greens Sydney City Council administration likely. Whatever, criticisms or reservations anyone may have about Moore there is no doubt that the political motion that such a independent-Greens administration sets in train would be preferable to the ALP getting control of the expanded City Council. That would have spelt business as usual for the developers!
Clover Moore is off to Town Hall SMH online: March 28 2004 By Alex Mitchell, State Political Editor A landslide of "people power" has installed independent MP Clover Moore as Sydney Lord Mayor and given her team control of the new super council. She immediately pledged to place the interests of the inner-city community who voted for her ahead of the developers. Her stunning victory wrecked the Labor Party's plan to put former federal arts minister Michael Lee in charge of the forcibly merged Sydney and South Sydney councils. "Voters have shown that they want the City Council to be run by and for the people of Sydney, and not by the Labor Party in Sussex Street," Mrs Moore said. As counting closed last night, Mrs Moore was taking 39 per cent of the primary vote followed by Mr Lee on 25 per cent, the Greens on 12 per cent and the Liberals on 10 per cent. Mrs Moore, the independent MP for Bligh, defeated a field of 13 other candidates in a bitterly contested Town Hall race in which the ALP bankrolled Mr Lee's campaign to the tune of $1 million. NSW Opposition Leader John Brogden congratulated Mrs Moore on her win, saying: "The City of Sydney has been saved from the clutches of the Labor Party that had immoral and corrupt intentions." He said electors across NSW had voted against the Carr Government's arrogance. "The voters have fired a rocket at the seat of Bob Carr and Labor for the contempt with which they have treated the people of NSW. "Labor tried to take the 'local' out of local government and tried to buy Sydney Town Hall. "They have rightly paid the price." Greens campaign organiser, upper house MP Sylvia Hale, said the "green machine" was on course to double its representation across NSW from 28 councillors to more than 50. "We have retained the strength of the vote we recorded at the state election a year ago," she said. "Labor's stranglehold on some city councils appears to have been broken. There's been quite a backlash against the Government's arrogant style." One of the humiliated lord mayoral candidates, former state opposition leader Peter Collins, may face disciplinary action by the Liberal Party after giving his final preferences to Labor's Mr Lee. Angry Liberals are expected to ask the next state executive meeting on April 13 to send Mr Collins a "please explain". Deputy Liberal leader Barry O'Farrell said Mr Collins's action was "very disappointing", adding: "It is a kick in the guts to all Liberal Party supporters." Last night's stunning victory was a personal milestone for Mrs Moore because she was denied the Lord Mayor's job 17 years ago. In 1987 the Unsworth Government sacked the Sydney City Council and cancelled the elections to stop then Alderman Moore from winning the Town Hall job. She said last night the win had come late but it was still sweet. With 4 million votes to be counted in 142 council elections all over NSW, the first complete results of yesterday's local government poll will not become known until Tuesday. The State Electoral Office has warned that the new preferential voting system and a change in the way votes are counted mean the final result may not be declared until Thursday, April 8.
- AS Jim McIlroy writes in an upcoming GLW article:
"Socialist Alliance candidate Coral Wynter gained 3.5 per cent (533
votes at close of counting on polling night), in the ward of Central
in the Brisbane City Council elections, held on March 27.
This was in the context of a strong result for the Greens, who won
17.5 per cent in the same inner-city ward, north of the Brisbane
River. Greens candidate for mayor of Brisbane Drew Hutton achieved an
overall vote of 10 per cent city-wide.
The result of the mayoral contest was a surprise win for Liberal
candidate Campbell Newman, defeating incumbent Labor mayor Tim Quinn
by 47.5 per cent to 40.3 per cent, with Green preferences being
unable to save mayor Quinn.
However, in a topsy-turvy result, mayor-elect Newman will have to
deal with a hostile ALP majority in council. Labor appears to have
won 15 council wards, with the Liberals gaining 11."
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This result is very interesting as it breaks the near monopoly the
ALP has had on the BCC for most of its existence. The Liberals (Sally
Anne Atkinson)ran the Council for one term prior to 1991 and before
that it was Clem Jones' ALP feifdom for yonks (I'm not sure on the
But the result indicates a significant shift away from Labor at the
core interface level of local government -- but the Greens results
aren't as good as I would have hoped. With the state election held so
recently the Greens campaign for Council had no where near the same
momentum -- being used primarily, I thought, as means to increase
Hutton's and the Greens profile in the run up to the federal campaign
(and especially the Senate vote where the Greens hope to get Hutton
up) I was working the main booth in Central Ward and all the labour
the Greens could muster was Drew and his partner for the day.
I thought the SA could have intervened better by running more than
one candidate and also fielding a mayoral candidate -- but it was a
choice we had to make given the work we outlayed for the State
Election so recently. Nonethless I think it was mistake.
The most interesting result is Dutton Park which was a ward most
influenced by the BCC proposed "Green Bridge" and ALP mayor's Tim
Quinn's old ward. The Greens at closing of counting were polling just
under 26 percent -- three percentage points behind the Liberals
although it looks like the ALP (Helen Abrahams) will take the ward.
Generally, I'm thinking that the core progressive impact has yet to
be made at the local government level here in Brisbane--indeed,
compared to the promise of the 1991 Green Alliance coalition (Greens,
Democrats, DSP, SPA, Independents,etc)-- the alternative vote has
been held back primarily due to some brilliant manoevreing by
Soorley's ALP administration who effectively posed as "green" for
most of its tenancy at Town Hall.
This suggests, I hope, that that period has passed -- but I cannot
see any force making gains at the local level unless it has relevance
beyond polling day -- that really some sort of grass roots dynamic
must be unleased before even the Greens can make a surge in the wards
Personally I think the local govnerment elections are the best venues
new forces like the Alliance can utilize to make electoral gains. But
how you do that is not so self evident. Instead over the past decade
here I've seen the Greens activity at the grass roots shrink as they
have preferred to play any number of electoralist games rather than
attend consciously to community organising. Similarly, I gather that
they have not been able to involve in campaigns like this the many
members they recruited over the past year in the wake of the Iraq
However, I think a new stage of urban restructuring is upon us here
and the ascendency of Newman is but a symptom of that. So a more
aggressive agenda coming from Town Hall --allied to general
privatisation, user pays and large engineering traffic projects --
will lead to a new round of community response and protest.
Similarly the porkbarreling by Council which became more and more
obvious as the ALP realised it was in trouble has been
extraoridnarily inept and self evident to everyone. How the ALP and
the Liberals are going to work out their priorities in that regard
with a split between mayoralty and council should make a great
melodrama for the next three years.