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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Personal integrity

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 As a Greens Party member who encouraged Rose Wanchap to stand for the Greens in the last Byron Shire Council election I sent her following letter on the May 26, 2014:

‘Hi Rose,Prior to the last council elections I was delighted when you agreed to offer yourself as a candidate for the Greens.

You may not know that since that election I have defended you, as recently as the last Greens party meeting [now two months ago], where I was the only person to defend you.

You will recall during the selection process you were asked about potential conflicts between you being a real estate owner and Greens policy.

You answered that issues may arise from time to time on which other Greens Councillors might not agree with you.

Existing local Greens Executive members explained to you, as a new Greens member, that it is local Greens policy to accept that from time to time all Greens Councillors won’t have exactly the same opinion. And, on occasion, individual Greens Councillors vote differently from follow Green Councillors.

But you did not inform Greens members that on all major development matters to come before Byron Council you would oppose the views put forward by fellow Green Councillors and community representatives on much discussed development resolutions.

Two characteristics, which I felt we shared as candidates [at the last Council election], made me admire you on first meeting.

One is that you looked at issues from a moral standpoint. The other was your support and encouragement for wide community discussion on any contentious issue.  You have repeatedly said that you felt that it was imperative that such discussions take place.

At the last council meeting [22 May 2-14] I discovered that you had decided to reject the material and opinions put to you by community representatives on the West Byron development, like all the earlier community representations on development issues made to you.

It became crystal clear to me that by your actions you have eclipsed the elected majority Greens / Progressive council alliance on development issues to create a pro-development majority on council.

You were elected as a Greens Councillor because voters presumed Greens had assessed you in its selection process and that except for the odd exception you would vote with your fellow Greens.

You were elected as a Councillor because you were the recipient of Greens votes. I cannot see how a person of moral integrity can resign from the Greens yet continue to remain a Councillor, vote with the pro-development Councillors and live with your conscience.

Secondly, I don’t see how you can continue as a Councillor without consulting the people at a public meeting who voted above the line for the Greens ticket.

I look forward to your reply.’

A month later I have not received a reply from Rose. As an older, wiser man I am relearning my youthful observation that most politicians believe their own bullshit.

Cr Rose Wanchap is one of them, I believe she is lacking in moral integrity because she does not seek a community-wide meeting with Green voters, is voting against the Greens on major development issues and is refusing to resign from council.

Her decision has profound consequences for our shire.

Nor bothering to reply to someone, who stood by her for over a year, comes with the territory.

Jim Beatson, Byron Bay


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