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Democracy has become meaningless in NSW

By June Bullivant OAM and Suzette Mead

The Granville and Parramatta communities have had an enormous shock.

We have been involved in the area since the 1970s in that time we have become known to hundreds of people, we are known for our love and passion for the area, we research, record, collect and then we teach, we are answering phone calls, talking in the queue for the teller, the super market, in the local club and coffee shop there is worried discussions.

People are afraid. The person that they elected at the last local government elections has now been removed from his or her office, and they have lost their phones, their office, also their access to the local information. It is like an operation that has amputated a leg or an arm. We have never seen the level of unrest since WW2. People are fearful of what is happening to the area that they have called home for years. They are watching the giant blocks of units rise from the ground and wonder if they will be swallowed in the process.

And what is all the more terrifying is that strangers are being put in charge, who have nothing to do with the area, do not know the history, and what is more worrying is that they have the final say in what happens to our suburb. They are not historians, they are not planners, they do not know or care about the environment, and they have been carefully selected to do the most harm they can before they will allow elections to take place. They are UNELECTED STRANGERS hired to push through the Baird Government plans.

We are all waking up to what this state Liberal Government is up to – the amalgamations are designed to facilitate liberal domination hence a free-for-all for developers – Sydney is being trashed by the big end of town who donate to the Liberal Party – payback time has arrived and developers won’t have to deal with troublesome local councillors or residents, businesses and visitors.

Overriding local planning rules, removing councillors, and giving access to council assets and services is all in the plan. It is a cynical and well-planned strategy to exploit Sydney’s desirable geography and ignore existing communities, human values and the huge amount of work put in by councillors, officers and the wider community.

Democracy has become meaningless in NSW, and indeed Australia.


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  1. June M Bullivant OAM

    Working with Suzette Mead from NPRAG on this post thanks Michael

  2. Matters Not

    As an ‘outsider’, could you tell me in a few words, what the ‘problem’ is?

    I assume it’s about the amalgamations of Local Councils but the claimed reasons for same are not made clear and neither are the arguments against same? Just asking.

  3. Anomander

    And all the ignorant voting cretins will call you an extremist, a unionist, a leaner, a lefty, a loony.

    Until they too are adversely affected – and only then will they say “Why didn’t somebody do something?”

    But by then it will all be too late.

  4. Wam

    It is awful in my area the blocks are big 1200 and 4 town houses are next door with all sorts of dwellings down the street which is now almost full of parked cars every night.
    My beef is pokies, being an addict. So it is tragic that as soon as labor leaves gov the lobbies hit the libs and chaos reins in gambling.
    SA wowsers have given the X two pensions and 12 houses on no pokies for no result when he had the balance with fielding, he couldn’t even back Wilkie. Certainly, the minute labor gets done the burr of coins will end and facility for ‘note sucking’ will be in every venue.

  5. Jaquix

    Council amalgamations can work – I worked in one very successful one. Also known one where administrators worked very efficiently. However, putting administrators in for over 12 months as Baird is doing, is surely unnecessary and potentially dangerous. They should only be used for working on the integration/replacement of the considerable bureaucratic systems required to run a Ciuncil, NOT decision making on behalf of the community. Especially not any developer applications.

  6. Lawrence S. Roberts

    This Baird Government is starting to make Eddied Obie look like a race day pickpocket. We will be paying for poor planning decisions for generations while developers have a field day. Rather like a three card trick it’s all done by slight of hand. WestConex gets approval without opposition or due diligence and silly but expensive projects in Manly get payed for by adjoining councils.

  7. Adrianne Haddow

    It’s not just Sydney that is falling to Baird’s knife to democracy. The forced amalgamation of councils is only one of my gripes against the NSW Liberal government. The Newcastle Council faces forced amalgamation with the Port Stephen’s Council, neither the people of Newcastle nor those of Port Stephens support this amalgamation. Totally different towns, totally different ethos.

    Newcastle had an ongoing battle with Baird in trying to halt the closure of the city rail line. The line ran alongside the harbour foreshore which has been ‘beautified’ and hence desirable for developers. As the only parcel of land in that area which is not undermined, the rail corridor is the only feasible land that could support high rise development. So in came the riot police when we held rallies to save our rail line, all black clad and menacing.
    Then up went the razor wire along the rail line, security thugs posted at intervals along the line. One local news photographer was detained by security for daring to photograph the operations, and was threatened with having his camera confiscated. Then, within days, up came the rail lines in spite of a High Court injunction. The state rail handed ownership of the line to the Hunter Development committee, a group with vested interest in the development of that land. A true fascist operation.
    This was followed by news that our bus service would soon become privatised. Nothing like destroying peoples’ options so your lobbyists can make a profit.

    Add to this the 99 year lease of the port of Newcastle to a company which is part owned by the Chinese state, cutting off revenue of billions to the state and local area.

    Baird’s government have passed anti demonstration laws which make it a crime to demonstrate against any mining or coal seam gas enterprise, indeed any venture that poses a risk to the environment. The protesters will be fined in excess of $5000, while mining operators will face fines of only $100’s for any environmental infringements.
    Now, NSW is faced with a change to criminal laws which provide police with the power to detain, and hold people on the suspicion that they may commit a crime in the future.
    These changes don’t appear in the public arena until they are about to be passed, so effective protests are unable to be mounted.

    In all these changes, there doesn’t appear to be any significant opposition presented by the NSW Labor opposition.
    Where is Luke Foley?

  8. wun farlung

    I know one amalgamation in far north Qld that was a complete failure and despite the obvious problem of area to be serviced from one centralised depot and office (which was pointed out time and again at the ‘stakeholder consultations’) . the State Government went ahead and at great expense and inconvenience to all and sundry the overpaid geniuses in Brisbane discovered they couldn’t make it work due to the area to be serviced from one centralised depot and office
    After being personally involved in several ‘stakeholder consultations’, the deal has already been done and the so called consultations are to give the appearance of due process
    What I have learnt is if you see the words stakeholder and consultation in the same sentence handle with care, be prepared to be ignored and be ready for the worst outcome possible

  9. wsherlockscottholmes

    It’s funny how they didn’t amalagamate pro-developer councils: one inner city council, which had the general manager having lunch with the mayor (only) at a high level restaurant on the ratepayers tick is not being amalgamated. Of course, he’s ‘prodevelopment’, and once ICAC gets to him, he’ll spend years in gaol, presumably.

    Meanwhile more honest councils get sacked, amalgamated and disbanded.

    Arrest Baird for Treason.

  10. Jexpat


    It’s likely not coincidence that the Baird waited for the High Court to emasculate ICAC (as a favor to their bar club member Margaret Cunneen) before going off on this tear.

  11. Marilyn Riedy

    Thomas Jefferson was reported to have stated that when corporations take over the government then Democracy is dead. This is what we are seeing now in NSW and Australia. It is a global movement for the multinational corporations to profit from the resources that we own and from the destruction of our environment. WestConnex, Western Sydney Airport, Council Amalgamations and the Trans Pacific Partnership are all linked and designed to further profit for the corporations and their investors.

    New Zealand refused to ratify the TPP and the people there rallied in the streets. It is time for the people of Australia to wake up and decide what type of a country we want. Do we want democracy or do we want to be considered as fodder for the multinational corporations.? What is absolutely necessary if we wish to retain our rights and values is a demonstration of People Power. The people must put aside political past history and send a strong message to Canberra that we will not allow our basic rights to be infringed.

    We need organised rallies in every city around Australia with maximum attendance. We need to flood politicians with messages of complaints. We have to shake off the apathy and stand up and be counted or this country that I love will be unrecognisable by the time my young grandchildren are adults. What kind of legacy will they receive?

  12. you can't be serious

    The development and property industries have achieved political and regulatory capture.
    Everyone who cares about democracy, the right to protest, the natural environment and the protection and continuation of individual property rights, should be very concerned if not afraid.
    Most of the community is asleep at the wheel and a terrible crash is the inevitable outcome.
    The Baird Government has fascist tendencies.
    It also appears to be corrupt.

  13. Wayne Johnson

    indeed the baird government is doing untold damage to the people of sydney with these forced council mergers is so anti democratic
    it stinks to the high heaven of corruption and baird will suffer the same as malcolm turnbull will come this election he is saying to the icac ive got the councils now and ill do the tenders with my developers and ill get the kickbacks too he is slapping everyone in the face and thumbing his nose at the icac baird is nothing more then a tinpot dictator


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