City News

OPINION: On common ground

Peter Hehir being arrested. Photo: Holly Gorman

BY PETER HEHIR

And so it begins. Glad the Impaler has hit the airwaves, telling us all how successful she’s been at raiding the public pantry and flogging off the spoils.

On the other side of the political divide, Jo Halen is busy telling her Summer Hill electorate just how much WestConnex is on the nose –  but conveniently neglecting to mention that the ALP is right behind WestConnex, with Daly Tweeting on 21 March 2013; “We want WestConnex”!

Ms Halen’s flyer states, “Jo Halen and Labor will invest in the public transport our city needs to get moving – not more polluting tollroads like WestConnex”. Wow! How brazen is that!

In Birchgrove, Jodi McKay, the Shadow Minister for Transport, while touting for the Balmain ALP candidate, tells anxious peninsula residents that the Western Harbour Tunnel won’t proceed – while blithely ignoring the fact that at least 40% of it has already been approved and that the contract has been let!

Promises, promises, promises

When pressed, all she could parrot was “The ALP opposes the Western Harbour Tunnel”… “The ALP opposes the Western Harbour Tunnel”…

So three more weeks of promises, promises.

More mudslinging as Berejiklian puts the boot into Daley, attempting to tag him with the corruption label, conveniently forgetting her role as Transport Minister in the Darley Road Dan Murphy’s affair.

Meanwhile Sydney’s population continues to grow, our roads become increasingly clogged and demountables sprout like wildflowers in the desert after rain.

Hospitals are overcrowded, waiting times in casualty often reach up to eight hours and the queues for anything but life-threatening surgery grow ever longer.

Nurses in day surgery recovery wards are overwhelmed. Since November, MRIs for knees can no longer be bulk billed if you happen to be over 65. Yet another senior’s present from the economic rationalists.

Human induced climate change is still denied with sceptics in both State and Federal Parliaments trumpeting Trumpian rhetoric, while tollroads like WestConnex consume concrete at a staggering rate. Concrete produces up to 8% of all global C02 emissions, raises the core temperature of cities, and ensures precious rain water is ushered out to sea, taking with it tonnes of plastic debris.

With fish kills and dying rivers and charges of gross mismanagement of water licences, the State is sorely hurting and is in desperate need of care, not short-term “fixes” that line the pockets of multinationals and the parasites who feed off them, ultimately worsening the amenity that Sydney could once boast about.

We crave genuine leadership that benefits us all – leadership that hasn’t been bought and paid for through donations to both of the major political parties.

Instead we get leadership – or rather the lack of it – that leaves us all impoverished, with continued degradation of both the built and natural environments.

On Sunday 3 March, there will be a gathering in Hyde Park North. People from all walks of life who see the amenity and lifestyle of this great city being seriously harmed are coming together.

The six years of NeoCon rule has done untold damage, institutional damage from which we may never recover.

I’d love to think that we are as mad as hell and that we aren’t going to take it anymore!

That we can all see a connectedness in all of this. That much that ails us has a common cause. That we need to turn things around. That the needs of Sydney’s people must be placed before profit.

Concepts like UrbanGrowth and organisations like the Greater Sydney Commission are anti-people. They are pro hi-rise, anti-environment and can only ever diminish us all and the city that we live in.

We deserve better

The failure of successive governments to recognise the structural heritage and the historic precincts that are threatened all around us is our failure. That we have a duty to demand that our homes and neighbourhoods are protected.

There is so much to decry. But there is common ground. A recognition that privatisation isn’t the answer. That the bottom line isn’t a God. An acknowledgement that Neo-Conservative economic philosophy has no place in the 21st century, here in Sydney or anywhere else for that matter. That it’s as discredited as the radiating tollroad “solution” to our city’s traffic chaos.

We deserve better. Better than Berejiklian. Better than Daley. Better than politicians who put their hands where they shouldn’t.

We need representatives with the vision and moral fibre of Ted Mack. But there are precious few standing on the hustings on the 23rd who aren’t muzzled by the parties who got them elected.

So come along to Hyde Park North next Sunday at 1pm and rub shoulders with others who, like you, really do care.