Last week the NSW Legislative Council passed the controversial Shooters and Fishers bill to reform business voting in City of Sydney Council elections.
The City of Sydney Amendment (Elections) Bill automatically enrols businesses in the City to vote in local government elections, makes voting compulsory for businesses and allows two people per business to vote.
The bill was passed in last week’s sitting of the Legislative Council and will come into effect at the 2016 local government elections.
NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge proposed an amendment to the bill which would block the legislation from being applied to all councils across NSW. The amendment was accepted and was included in the final version of the legislation.
“There was a small victory for democracy with the Parliament voting in favour of a Greens amendment to prevent this ugly corporate voting scheme from being rolled out across the state,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Mr Shoebridge is among several local politicians who have spoken out in opposition to the bill, including Independent Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich and Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
Mr Greenwich, who proposed his own alternative bill to challenge the Shooters and Fishers’ legislation, expressed disappointment the bill passed the upper house.
“Big business should not have more influence on decision makers than residents and I will work to have these laws repealed,” Mr Greenwich said.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the passing of the bill represents an attempt to change the leadership of Town Hall.
“They’ve tried this kind of thing before. By moving boundaries and changing voting rules, they have tried to get their mates into power,” she said.
The bill has been passed to the Legislative Assembly for concurrence.