BY LUCAS BAIRD
The business vote reforms in Sydney looks are set to hurt incumbent Mayor, Clover Moore, as business owners showed up in force at the Town Hall pre-polling booths voicing their displeasure.
The reforms which were passed by the State Government in July, give businesses two votes instead of one in the City of Sydney elections. Many have predicted this change could impact Ms Moore’s twelve year majority rule as mayor.
Business owners that were interviewed at the Town Hall booths almost unanimously said that the Liberal candidate, Christine Forster, would secure their vote.
“I’ll be voting for Christine [Forster] because Clover [Moore] has ruined this city,” said one business owner. “The bike tracks go nowhere, the cyclists don’t use them and they are ruining businesses in Alexandria because people can no longer park outside them.”
“The business vote is the only reason I’m here. I’ll be voting Liberal,” said another.
However, Ms Moore did appear to have the support of most of the residents that City Hub talked to at the booths.
One declared that she was in “awe” of what Ms Moore had done in her time as Mayor, praising in particular the installation of bike lanes across the City.
Many residents also criticised the business vote reforms. “It’s disgraceful,” said one voter.
However, some residents saw it as less of an issue. One resident said that while she initially disliked the laws, she had come around to them.
Councillor Clover Moore told City Hub that she expected the business vote to be one of the biggest issues in the race for Mayor, claiming that many residents will feel that their vote has been “halved” and will be voting on that issue in particular.
Ms Moore also looks set to benefit from preferences from both the Labor candidate for Mayor, Linda Scott, and the Greens.
“It is over to the people now, they have to decide. But I have fought hard for them over the last twelve years,” Ms Moore said.
Angela Vithoulkas from the Sydney Matters party is another candidate attempting to become Lord Mayor.
Ms Vithoulkas said that she was “quietly optimistic” of her chances to become Mayor and that her team had been working hard on pre-polling.
Ms Vithoulkas also recruited former Liberal councillor Edward Mandla to Sydney Matters in July and is hoping to pull some votes from the Liberal party.
“There are many disillusioned liberal voters who will be happy at having another place to go,” she told City Hub.
But, Ms Forster said otherwise.
“Not at all, why would it? He [Mr Mandla] was a very unsuccessful Liberal candidate for Mayor the last time.”
Pre-polling for the City of Sydney will be open until the election day, Saturday September 10.