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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Ban party politics

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It’s time to ban party politics at all levels of government. The resident from Drysdale Vic has obviously missed the long running, unedifying, public slanging match between The Greens party, former and current MPs, and councillors. He accepts no responsibility, nor apologises, for his part in the election of a councillor on the Greens ticket, who ignored the values of the people who voted Green, and consistently voted with pro-development councillors with disastrous consequences for the community (Letters, 17 March). 

People need to be cautious about rewriting history. The Drysdale resident has forgotten that one of the most disastrous developments in Byron Shire, the Splendour Festival site at Yelgun, 51 per cent of which has been sold off to an American conglomerate, was initially approved by the Barham-led Council, with little protest from the mayor, to the dismay of many environmentalists. Despite a perfectly adequate festival site available at Tyagarah, the developers chose a site jammed up against one of the most important wildlife corridors on the east coast, which locals had fought to protect for decades. 

As with all political parties, The Greens biggest problem is the lack of due diligence, and lack of choice, when preselecting people fit to represent this great community. Despite this region being full of decent people who have battled for decades to protect our precious environment and stop inappropriate development, we’ve had some awful ‘representatives’ imposed on us thanks to party funds and support. We all deserve much better.

Sometimes candidates preselected by parties are strangers to the community they aspire to represent, have not done the hard work, and would have little chance of being elected as an independent. In some instances, once elected, these ‘representatives’, who know nothing of the hard work of locals, seem to think they’re entitled to treat locals with contempt, even publicly abusing them.

All political parties and party politicians are able to be influenced and compromised by political donations or campaign support from businesses or corporations, no matter how small. It’s more difficult to influence a parliament, or council, or independents.

Given the corruption and scandals in our state and federal governments, and the lack of talented, committed, or even decent, people in political parties of all persuasions, maybe it’s time to ban party politics at all levels of government and stick to independents. Most, not all, are more dedicated, smarter, willing to listen to, and consider the needs of their communities, as opposed to favouring the demands of developers and business. They also seem to be able to deliver more for their communities.

Echo founder Nicholas Shand always said there’s no place for party politics on local councils, and we can see why.

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