Edward Mandla

Published On: 28/07/2014

Over a year ago we undertook to stream Committee and Council proceedings via the Internet, in the year that has passed, nothing has been achieved.

I’ve heard all the excuses, and they’re the same ones we use to suppress information from the public with our over zealous use of classifying documents as confidential.

It’s problematic, inconvenient and it might even be embarrassing.

They’re may be no Parliamentary privilege in this Chamber but few Councillors fear a door stop with a journalist where there’s no parliamentary privilege.

If we can work with the Lord Mayor’s ICAC gun pointed to our heads, we can work with webcasting.

So what’s the real reason for the delays?

The reason for this is very clear, accountability is not a priority for this Chamber, if it was, this would have been done by now.

Sunshine makes the best disinfectant.

The City of Sydney prefers “Democracy in the Dark”.

Embarrassingly, Councils with inferior resources have been doing this in some cases, like Dandenong, for a decade. We’ve dragged our feet.

They’ve seen the value of engagement. We pay lip service to it, like our dreadful performance on the business vote last election where only some seventeen hundred businesses voted out of fifty thousand.

The Lord Mayor calls us “Global and Connected” but we can’t do what a teenager can do in their bedroom, that is organise a webcast. What’s our excuse?

Once again the Lord Mayors hype is at odds with reality. When you get past the elaborate shop front, it turns out there’s nothing in the shop to sell.

What’s our excuse?

From King County Seattle in the North West, to Miami Dade County in the South East, US County Governments webcast their proceedings.

The same applies in Canada. Over half of Wales and all of the UK Local Governments webcast, but not us.

What’s our excuse?

The Greens policy Statement of 2010 provides for webcasting of Local Government proceedings, and they are well represented in this chamber.

What’s our excuse?

The Lord Mayor in her September 2012 Valedictory speech to State Parliament spoke at length of the importance of accountability and transparency in government and always maintaining grassroots support.

What better way to help achieve these values that she allegedly espouses than to make these proceedings widely available through a technology it seems everyone else can offer but us.

It seems the road to hell in this chamber is paved with good intentions.

What’s our excuse? We’re out of excuses.

Our time for foot dragging and treating the people of Sydney with contempt is now over.

If a teenager and Norfolk can do it easily then I challenge the Lord Mayor and this Council to deliver on its commitment and stop treating the people of Sydney with contempt.

Lord Mayor, I’m issuing you a “90 Day Challenge.”

In 90 days this Council should deliver webcasting to its constituents in both Committees and Council, as it committed to do a year ago or the Lord Mayor should just level with them and tell them that she prefers it when they can’t see what happens here.

Lord Mayor, demonstrate to the Ratepayers of this city that you use words like “accountability” and “transparency” like they mean something.

At the moment, it would appear they are used like a punch line in a joke that has been made in very poor taste.

Democracy in the dark must end immediately.

Edward Mandla
July 2014

Share this article:
Keep up to date with Edward's monthly newsletter.

FacebookTwitterLinked In
Help Edward bring the change our city needs.
Get in touch with Edward here
Name *
E-Mail *
Subject *
Message *
© 2021 Edward Mandla
Authorised by John Preston, 33 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Site design by Saiman Reddy