The Labor candidate for the seat of Sydney, Edwina Lloyd, has called out the Potts Point Partnership (PPP) and the Darlinghurst Business Partnership (DBP) for what she says was a “loaded debate”.
Her dismissal of the legitimacy of the debate comes in light of the story published by City Hub last week which revealed that the Liberal candidate Patrice Pandeleous turned the same offer down due to the party’s head office.
Ms Lloyd’s main issue with the debate was the role of Timothy Peterson as one of two chairmen for the night.
Ms Lloyd said that Timothy’s ownership of Café Dov was a direct conflict of interest.
“When they told us that Timothy Peterson, who hosts fundraising events for Mr Greenwich at Café Dov, was going to be the chairperson the final red flags flew up at that point and we felt that that fact meant that it was not going to be an impartially run forum,” she told City Hub.
Ms Lloyd sent an email to the PPP outlining her reasons.
“It has become readily apparent to me that the PPP and DBP are more interested in scoring political points for their preferred election candidate than genuinely giving their members an opportunity to participate in the democratic process,” the email read.
“This is a shame because there are many genuine issues regarding the future of the Potts Point and Darlinghurst business districts that deserve to be aired and discussed in the context of the State election.”
Louise Shepherd, the coordinator of the PPP said it is part of Mr Peterson’s role on the board of the partnership to set his political views aside.
“When Tim is performing duties for the partnership, he has responsibilities to be apolitical because the partnership is an apolitical organisation. We have a board of directors and the board represent various political persuasions so all the decisions that are made on the board level are apolitical,” she said.
“Edwina didn’t express her concern to us so we couldn’t have addressed it. She just flat out refused without communicating that worry prior.”
Ms Lloyd said she made four appeals for more information before finding out about the appointment conflict that she said would have been easy to avoid.
“They know the relationship between Tim and Alex, so why wouldn’t they have picked someone else? It’s not up to me to pick a bi-partisan moderator,” she said.
The Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, was unavailable for comment before publication but had taken to Twitter to label the declinations of the invitation by both the Labor and Liberal candidates as showing “disrespect for Sydney voters”.
Ms Shepherd claimed that Ms Lloyd misinterpreted the purpose of the debate to be solely about Sydney’s lockout laws. Ms Lloyd is an open supporter of the lockouts, but disagrees with some of the elements involved. The PPP also oppose the lockouts, again with a nuanced approach.
“I think our membership would have appreciated a discussion beyond just the lockouts. Some of them would have agreed with Edwina’s position, so it was wrong of her to assume the debate would be solely on the lockouts,” she said.
Ms Lloyd said that after all the red flags she perceived she had no choice, but still wished to engage with those involved.
“I wrote to the Potts Point Partnership asking for a range of questions that they would like to know my position on and I’m still willing to answer them if they come through,” she said.
“I had another forum on that night and after learning the full details of the event my choice was easy.”