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The Party Plot

G. Ron. Nemo’s Intergalactic Cure All. Photo: Peter Hehir

Opinion by PETER HEHIR

“Who would vote for a Party Plot that would milk a hardy land?

Rather a call for the working man in a voice he’ll understand

As he picks his pitiful pittance up, the fruit of a weary toil,”

These are the opening lines of a poem that could have been penned yesterday.

Actually, they were written at RAAF Base Wagga Wagga in 1969 by an old mate of mine, David Lewis Paget, in a volume later published as “G. Ron. Nemo’s Intergalactic Cure All”, when we were both “baggy arses” and just out of our teens. Dave and I were in the same RAAF Instrument Fitters course – 49 Instruments.

Don’t bother trying to locate the volume. I’ve tried and couldn’t find it anywhere on the net, but I do have one of the very, very few copies that I suspect may still be in existence. And it’s signed;

“… to that little coterie of unlimited talent at 30 The Terrace and the memories you bequeathed to me …”

Needless to say, it’s a treasured possession.

The poem is one of a number of his very earliest works. It’s in a battered, 50 year old, well-thumbed, hand-printed, A4 stapled volume of 22 poems, published in an extremely limited edition in 1972, and written when we were both very square pegs in exceedingly round holes; railing against authority and bucking a system that every member of the service delighted in telling us just couldn’t be done.

“You can’t buck the system”, I’d hear whenever I was being charged for some ridiculous, petty infringement. I didn’t believe it then and I don’t believe it now.

Twenty-two charges. (“Never for the same thing twice sir,” as I once responded with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek when asked what did I have to say for myself, “So I figure I must be improving”).

And after six years I was on my way out of the RAAF and into NIDA.

Not only can you buck the system, but I’m also absolutely convinced it’s your democratic duty to do precisely that!

Looking to the Inner West

“The Party Plot” is one of my favourite poems. The title says it all. It’s not in any way intellectual, which, apart from the theme, is for me a major part of its attraction.

It’s easily accessible to the common man – I hasten to add this poem was written long before political correctness became the buzzword; so the word “man” does include women and children. Just as humanity and mankind are gender-inclusive; and were never intended to be otherwise…

We all know that the system of local government in the Inner West has been hijacked by a Party Plot.

And it’s our right; nay, our responsibility, to collectively take it back. It was stolen from us by the top end of town in order to distance us from the decision making process.

We won’t sell our suburbs and our amenity for the developer’s buck. But what we can do is exercise our democratic right to say enough is enough!

Independent Inner West Councillor John Stamolis states;

“When solid independents DO stand up against the two major parties, they barely get elected.

“If you rank all 15 IWC Councillors by vote, the three independents come in at 13th, 14th and 15th. Only a few hundred votes and we all could go in September!

“I can’t get a quota (25%) after 24 years of service to my community, nor can any independent! Our elections are not local, they are highly political.”

So how about we do what the rest of the country does and keep both of the major parties out of local government?

We have our opportunity on September 4th, when, after 5 previously unsuccessful attempts to allow residents a say on the amalgamation of the three Councils, the “Laboral Coalition” were finally defeated and democracy actually had a win!

We do get to vote and I say don’t listen to the scare tactics! The cost will be borne by the State Government as there is a provision for this in the Act.

The Berejiklian Government created the mess, (against the very best independent advice), so they can clean it up.

Vote YES to bring back Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield Councils!

Seeing the Libs in bed with the ALP – this “Laboral Coalition” – in order to keep those among us who actually live in the area muted; and so effectively disenfranchised, really makes my blood boil! This unholy alliance is the cadre that currently rules the recently (2016) amalgamated Inner West Council.

As a past Secretary and President of the Rozelle Branch of the ALP, I find this totally inconceivable. Something that I never, ever, thought could possibly happen. Not in my lifetime. It simply is beyond comprehension!

The final two lines of David’s poem read;

“For it’s not to keep their pockets lined that we want the members there,

But to raise the poor from the daily grind of a blank and dark despair”.

How does raising the rates in Marrickville and Leichhardt or plunging us into a $6,000,000 debt achieve that? Or providing the mayor with 5 spin doctors costing $2,100,000 over the 4-year term?

We can’t, and won’t stuff the politician’s pockets as the high priced lobbyists do. We now have a real chance to take back our stolen Councils on September 4th.

So…

Are you with me?

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