Edward Mandla
COUNCIL SPEECHES
Push Polling

Published On: 27/04/2015

There’s a great barometer in the City of Sydney whether something is going down and that’s the Inbox of Councillors and if it’s major, constituents just get on the blower.

I know the answer from Cr Forster, so I’ve leaned over to Cr Vithoulkas and whispered into Cr Scott’s ear and like me, they’ve got nothing on Council Amalgamations.

But what I have got emails and calls on is Council’s remarkable survey technique. That’s why I had a Question on Notice on this matter.

So, we’ve just had a bland presentation on the survey, which shows the words that steered participants. What it doesn’t show is the enthusiastic way the surveyor went through how wonderful the City of Sydney is, steering participants. Then once the questions are asked the surveyor makes an enthusiastic case (which is in writing in our papers) for the City against amalgamations and says “given what I have now told you would you like to change the answers to your questions”!

Now that I’ve set the background lets go through what the staff have told me. Admittedly it’s “shower talk” and I hope I won’t be taken to ICAC. I’ve been told that senior management, and indeed the CEO, have been going around giving speeches to staff to reassure “the poor dears” about amalgamations. I hope the CEO can let us know about what is being said. I apologise for the “shower language” but I’m merely a messenger. I’ve been told “the City appears scared shitless about amalgamations”. That’s management fearing for their jobs.

I wonder if we polled the residents of the former South Sydney Council whether they would like to de-amalgamate – I doubt they would want to leave the City and the amalgamation has been highly beneficial to them.

The Minister says that local Councils are losing a million dollars a day. That’s serious. They City ought to drop the defensive and negative approach and be positive. It should look at what an amalgamated Council would look for Woollahra or Leichardt or North Sydney. North Sydney amalgamating would be interesting albeit unlikely.

What about the largest Council in the Southern Hemisphere? I’m excited about the City of Sydney amalgamated with Woollahra, Waverly, Randwick and Botany. It would be the largest economic and tourist zone in the Country!

But the city won’t look positively at any possibility because the result will be a sign above Town Hall reading “Under New Management”.

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