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SSC Newspaper : August 2012
Strathfield Scene 11 www.ourstrathfield.com.au on voter’s minds? $5765 – The price of a seaT on council “The ability to buy advertising and saturate local streets with election flyers should never be the measure of a local candidate.” CALL NOW 9743 5757 / 0412 851 302 Taekwondo world MarTial arTs 1st floor, 10-12 Parramatta Rd, Homebush. Opp imo Car Wash on George St, North Strathfield WWW.tkdWOrLd.COm.Au LeArN SeLf defeNCe LeArN ✔ Confidence ✔ discipline ✔ Concentration MarTial arTs for kids and adulTs “I’m happy with the changes. They ’re there for a good reason. I don’t feel any restrictions.” The changes, fuelled by the perception that political donations were buying influence on council decisions, are already having a significant impact. “Corporate fundraising and the ability to buy advertising and saturate local streets with election flyers should never be the measure of a local candidate,” a Greens analysis maintains. So why would a large and wealthy organisation bother to buy influence on a local council? The recently passed Strathfield Local Environmental Plan provides a good example – large tracts of land preserved or rezoned, height restrictions and heritage listings. Millions of dollars in development is at stake. Lobby groups came in for particular scrutiny before the new laws were passed. The current crop of candidates number lobbyists among them – Sang Ok, for instance, is listed as a manager at First State Government and Corporate Relations, a lobby group chaired by Joe Tannous, whose brother Pierre is another Liberal candidate. Ok denies that he is a lobbyist and says he arranges Korean investment. Ok presided over an evening of “dining, operative performances, classical music and friendship” at the Korean Community Hall in Croydon Park last month. Fellow Liberal, State MP Charles Casuscelli was also in attendance, telling a hall filled with Korean families: “Every dollar this evening will work for the Korean community ”. His message was greeted with nods of approval and applause. While individuals can still donate under the new laws, the direct relationship between a donor and their business or property interests will be more transparent. Next week independent Andrew Soulos, president of the Strathfield Chamber of Commerce, will be holding a fundraiser of his own at Crystal Seafood Restaurant in Strathfield. The cost is $50 a head. Soulos is one ofthe few independents to do so. As well as the costs of campaign materials, candidates must pay a nomination deposit to the NSW Electoral Commission: $125 per candidate for parties of five people or less; $625 for a party of six people or more. booths on September 8, but most were still undecided on who they would vote for. Strathfield resident Peter Ngyuen and his wife Mary-Anne said they ’ve heard stories of people being mugged while walking up and down The Boulevarde. Ngyuen wants to see councillors take a stance on public safety. “ We want more street lights and more police patrolling the area,” Ngyuen told the Scene. “ Things like this will make a difference to who we vote for.” His wife agreed: “We hope our new councillors will help with public safety because we’ve heard stories of people being mugged around the station or walking late at night,” she said. On the day, the Ngyuens were unsure of who they would vote for but said they would carefully consider the Strathfield First Residents Group. George Azar has lived in his Llandilo Road home for over 30 years. Azar was happy for the candidates to come into his home so he could tell them his worries over a cup of coffee. Azar is another resident who is concerned with safety in the area. “I have two daughters who have just finished university,” he told the candidates. “ They get home quite late so I am always concerned about them when they are walking around the station. “I want councillors who are passionate about the area. They need to love Strathfield and be able to understand what residents want.” Resident Anthony Quach said he doesn’t want to see overdevelopment in Strathfield as it will add to the already congested roads. “I’ve lived in Strathfield all my life and I have watched the area grow exponentially,” he told the candidates. “It’s changed so much. If we have more developments, it will just add to the traffic congestion. The traffic is already getting worse and worse all the time. I want councillors that can make a difference and give the residents what they want.” continued from pg 1 battle for Strathfield almost all candidates, though Cr McLucas has been careful to explain she is conflicted and cannot take a stand on the issue. Council was made aware of the letter after residents’ protest leader Jane Pistolese presented them with the letter at a meeting. The letter claimed McLucas was campaigning against the university, which she says is completely untrue. “I was absolutely shocked when I was shown the letter and what was said is untrue. I’ve been completely transparent and I have not presented a position on the issue,” Cr McLucas says. “Adversarial politics have no role in local government. I am very upset that someone is trying to cause me personal harm.” Cr McLucas says she has spoken to the university and they are aware of the situation. “They are extremely supportive,” she says. Meanwhile, Strathfield First has challenged candidates to issue their home addresses to prove they live in the local government area (LGA), saying they will campaign for a law change forbidding outsiders from standing for council. Liberals number two ticket holder Sang Ok lives in Liberty Grove, in the Canada Bay LGA. He is sponsored as a candidate by a Korean office cleaning company. Ok tells the Scene: “I think I am a Strathfield resident; all my activities happen in Strathfield, which is five minutes from my home. The Labor, Strathfield First and Unity groups all said their candidates lived in the area. Liberal leader Gulian Vaccari said “most” lived in the municipality.