The NSW Liberal Government is doing away with due process, good governance, transparency and accountability, and ignoring the will of the people. The Greens stand with the community in demanding better from our elected Government.
Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 12:42 :04 ): "Government at all levels are elected to represent people's interests", is a comment from Nathan, who is a constituent of the Newtown electorate, that was added to the bottom of a letter he co-signed recently, along with hundreds of other Newtown electorate residents, calling on the Premier to listen to them and stop construction of WestConnex, and establish an urgent independent inquiry, restore our democratically elected councils, reverse the draconian New South Wales anti-protest laws, ban political donations from mining and petroleum companies, ensure genuine community consultation for urban growth and big developments, and end the privatisation agenda for our public services and infrastructure. Hundreds of people signed this letter, but it is not just people in the Newtown electorate who are calling on the Premier and this Liberal-Nationals Government to stop listening to vested interests and start serving the community interest. The numbers are growing.
People are so disgusted by the actions of this Government, they are so disheartened by the Government's agenda and they are so outraged by the Government's policies that they are literally taking to the streets in their thousands. They are setting up camps in their beloved parks to try to stop the destruction of trees. They are taking to the streets to try to stop the Baird Government's destruction of their neighbourhoods. This is happening not just in the Newtown electorate but beyond. People are gathering outside their local council meeting places where appointed administrators have replaced democratically elected councillors. They are filling community meetings held by local resident action groups to express their concerns about threats to public housing, and they are literally dancing in disgust on the streets. On the weekend, 10,000 people came out to show their support for keeping Sydney open.
We have seen this with WestConnex, we have seen it with the sacking of local councils, we have seen it with the lockouts, and we have seen it with the anti-protest laws. This Government is doing away with due process, good governance, transparency and accountability, and ignoring the will of the people. The Government's slogan of "New South Wales now: the new state of business" makes blatantly clear who it is governing for. Shamefully, it is not for the community. I urge people not to be fooled by its announcement on greyhounds today that it is doing it because it is listening to the people. The Government is doing it for its vested interests and because it is worried about losing power. Given the history of corruption in New South Wales, the Premier would do well to listen to the wise words of Burmese democracy activist and leader Aung San Suu Kyi when she said, "It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it ..."
The Premier and this Government are not listening to the community. They are attempting to chainsaw our trees, bulldoze our homes, shut down our nightlife, sack our councils and sell off public housing. The Greens have consistently stood with communities to oppose disastrous public policy and expose the vested interests that have for too long corrupted our democracy, our planning process and our political system in New South Wales. The people are speaking in large numbers on the streets. They are saying things to this Government, but this Government is not listening.
As the member for Newtown I give my commitment to bring the voices and concerns of the community into this Parliament. That includes the voices of residents who are concerned that this Government is selling off essential public assets, like Michael from Chippendale, who says, "Mr Baird, the privatisation of electricity is a joke. While you reap the rewards the homeless services organisations perish." It also includes those who are concerned about attacks on civil liberties, like Simon from Surry Hills, who writes, "Attacks on civil liberties and lack of social governance are a distressing trait from this government. You are taking us backwards not forwards."
My commitment includes the voices of Gerard and Alice from Lewisham, who point out, "It is so typical of a dictatorial decision makers to make anti-protest laws." It includes Ella from Stanmore, who says, "Freedom to protest, accountability to the public, local government representation and strong public services are the best elements of our democracy, it is not acceptable for government to undermine them." It also includes Donna from Newtown, who says, "They sacked our councils! The Inner West Council amalgamation which saw the removal of our local Marrickville Council elected representative, represents a dismal degradation of resident's rights for democratic processes."
Across the board the Baird Government is failing to listen to communities and that is resulting in strong communities standing up and speaking out. People are gathering in their thousands on the streets to protect their neighbourhoods. The Greens and I will continue to stand with them. We will bring their voices to this place to ensure that they are heard and that the people's interests are served, not the vested interests of the big end of town.