Quite how sick, I did not know, until just recently.
Peddling of influence is commonplace in NSW.
Our local member does not hesitate to try to put pressure on the local business chamber, to try to get me to shut up about the Kangaloon Aquifer. He complained that I was apparently advising people to vote 1 Green, 2 Liberal in Kiama. (I was present when this phone call took place - and while I heard only one end of the conversation, I do know for a fact that the call was made.)
Anyway, the allegation is wrong. What I have been saying (privately, up until now) is that it is my intention to vote that way. As far as I know, this is still (only just) a democracy, and I am entitled to vote how I want.
The fact that my friends and colleagues have been subjected to pressure, to get them to try to influence me is appalling. It just confirms me in my intention to vote in a way that would end up not supporting Matt Brown.
The Greens have decided to give their preferences to Labor (in Kiama) as they judge that over-all, the ALP is slightless bad than the Liberal Party, and that the Liberals' decision to hand over the Industrial Relations powers to the Federal Government was the deciding factor. While I understand that decision, on the full range of policies, personally, I cannot bring myself to follow that voting recommendation. So, I am voting on a "Single Issue" policy - for the first time in my life. I have previously declared myself to be a life-long Labor Voter up until this election. But that was a position formed when Labor politicians like EGW, and Tom Uren believed in Labor Party policy, social justice, and the "light on the hill". Not this mob.
Back in November, I went to my local member, Matt Brown, quietly and respectfully, and told him that the information he had been given about potential environmental damage to the Kangaloon Aquifer was wrong. He had been briefed by the Government and the Sydney Catchment Authority. He disagreed (fair enough). Except that we quoted facts and figures from SCA documents. He undertook to check it out, then came back and he still said that we were wrong. He now knows that we were indeed right (confirmed by the head of the SCA, no less), but by then, he had locked himself into a position opposed to our campaign to protect the Kangaloon Aquifer.
So there it is Matt. You were wrong. You now know it, but you do not have the decency to acknowledge that fact. But Matt's personalised pressuring my friends and colleagues, confirms my decision to vote on a "personal" basis - for just about anyone but Matt Brown.
The process of declaring large projects as "critical infrastructure projects" (which brings them under the provisions of "Part 3A" of the EPA Act), creates a perfect situation to institutionalise corruption within the State planning system. Developments which are controversial become subject to the decision of just one person, the Minister for Planning, Mr Frank Sartor. And the decision to deem a project subject to Part 3A is itself beyond appeal or review.
A "Part 3A" declaration lifts a project above all normal planning controls, including all Local Government planning procedures and normal State Government controls, such as environmental controls. Mining companies and large developers love this, and are beating a path to Frank Sartor's door.
No wonder! From a sociological analysis of that situation, it creates the perfect situation to promote collusion between developers and the Government (at an individual or governmental level). I am not making any accusations, merely providing a classical sociological analysis of the relationship between developers and Government.
ENJOY YOUR TASTE OF DEMOCRACY TOMORROW.
THIS IS WHAT WE ARE INVADING IRAQ FOR: TO SHOW THEM HOW GOOD DEMOCRACY IS.