Edward Mandla
Lord Mayor Wasting Rate Payer Money on Business Vote

Published On: 25/08/2014

This morning, Robert Doyle, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne explained why they needed the voices of business to participate in City of Melbourne elections.

He pointed out that ten years ago Melbourne was “clown town”. But with engaging the voice of business, it’s now in a position of great strength. Melbourne has been voted the world’s most livable city, for the fourth consecutive year.

The Lord Mayor and the Member for Sydney have made absurd claims about the Bill before the NSW Parliament to enfranchise small business and other hard working rate paying businesses. They’ve forgotten that these changes, and their first priority, are not to those who govern, but those who are governed.

Put simply, this Bill is about restoring democracy and accountability. The people of this city have heard the tired and well worn arguments you have advanced. The most misleading is the reasoning behind two votes per business. It’s pretty simple.

You have many people employed in a business, from a couple to a thousand or more. To represent them they get two votes, just like you would have one or more people living in a household getting one or more votes.

The best I can tell this scrambling administration is to stop whining and start representing.

I have said this in Chamber before and I will say it again, in 2002, the Lord Mayor worked hand in hand with the Carr government to pass laws which effectively silenced the businesses of Sydney from having a say in the running of the Council for which they contribute 78% of the rate revenue. All this bill does is make it easier for them to get on and stay on the roll.

City business owners are honest, hardworking people. They provide employment and pay their taxes working long hours to contribute to our economy. I doubt that there are many around this table that has ever filled out a BAS statement.

It was with great sadness that members from the Southern side of the table have claimed that Businesses cannot be given the vote, as it will lead to corruption. In recent weeks, business owners have been contacting me upset at being labeled corrupt. There is no evidence for this outrageous claim.

Recently, my fellow Councilor Christine Forster and I attended a local business chamber meeting. All Sydney Councillors were invited yet we were the only two who showed up. Who did we meet? A gym owner, a record shop owner, a real estate operator, a small bar proprietor, a boutique shop owner and a café owner. Didn’t meet any property developers. Small business is the backbone of our city business community, not second class citizens.

This worn out regime is saying the Premier is supporting this bill so Liberals can take control. Well I have news for you. Businesses will back those they believe will deliver for this City like any other Voter. That’s why business backed Frank Sartor for so long because he delivered for this great city. Don’t worry Lord Mayor, you’ll probably still be Lord Mayor in 2016 if you pull up your sockettes.

It’s about the people, not about us. They are adequately represented in Parliament and we don’t need another gabfest which is a thinly disguised protest funded by Town Hall at Ratepayers expense. The consultation was done long ago.

Edward Mandla
August 2014

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