Alex Greenwich, Member for Sydney will introduce a bill to ensure City of Sydney business operators can participate in local government elections.
“Businesses can already vote in City of Sydney elections but too few know their rights and the process can be complex,” Mr Greenwich said in s press release today.
As a former CBD small business owner, Greenwich understands the concerns that businesses should be more involved in local democracy and as a consequence presented a proposal to encourage their vote to the Lord Mayor.
“My bill would make it easier for eligible businesses to get on the electoral roll,” Mr Greenwich said.
“The bill will establish a permanent business and ratepayers electoral register, which the electoral commission will use to create the business and ratepayers roll before an election.
“Businesses will be able to be included on the register at any time and the Electoral Commissioner will be compelled to run education programmes to inform business of their right to vote and contact all businesses to confirm their details on the register are up to date. This will ensure the electoral roll is accurate and guarantee the integrity of the election,” Mr Greenwich said.
Greenwich was alarmed by the Shooters and Fishers Party non-residential voting proposal based on the Melbourne City election model. He believed that the Shooters’ proposal could easily be rorted by vested interests to dilute the vote of citizens and eligible businesses, allow people who have never lived in or visited Australia and overseas corporations a vote in local elections, and allow the council, not the independent electoral commissioner to manage the electoral roll.
“Why does a party focussed on hunting, gun laws, fishing restrictions and land clearing, with a predominantly rural support base, and with a reputation for doing deals with governments, suddenly want to tamper with Sydney’s democracy?” Mr Greenwich asked.
“My proposal would ensure the independent Electoral Commission is responsible for the roll, keeping it at arms-length form any politically motivated council interference.
“My proposal improves the current system, is simple and inexpensive to implement, and would achieve the desired outcome of greater business participation in local democracy,”
Alex will consult with the City’s Chambers of Commerce and the City of Sydney Council before bringing the bill on for debate in NSW Parliament this year.