Can Sydney cope with yet more catastrophes from a combined city council?
The media is really getting stuck into Labor’s council sackings and
proposed merger in Sydney but it still seems Michael Lee is to be
Sydney’s next Lord Mayor.

He was a less than lustrous junior Arts Minister and to date has provided no evidence of his skills in local government.

Most of his life has been passed on the NSW Central Coast which, after
Sydney, is one of this country’s greatest planning catastrophes. His
only expressed vision for the Emerald City to date has been a desire to
extend the Pitt (usually referred to in its scatological rhyme) Street
Mall. This is a terrible idea but it’s the only one that squeaked
through Lee’s lips since his announced candidature.

Sydneysiders, long inured to seeing City Hall treated as a political
football, can only sigh and hope that he can do better than that in a
city where planning has long been responsive to brown paper bag
deliveries from developers.

Wiseacres, and Sydney Town is full of them, reckon the Lee idea
emanates from NSW Labor Right’s eminence grise, Eric Roosendaal, who
sees two good reasons for a Labor snatch at Town hall.

Judicious management of city finances by Lords Mayor Sartor and his
anointed successor Lucy Turnbull have delivered the City a hefty $200
million reserve and wouldn’t the party apparatchiks in Sussex St love
to get their hands on that loot?

And they’d also like to control Development Applications in the City,
always a nice cash cow. Hence the absurd scheme to push the City
boundaries southwards into Beaconsfield and Zetland, long-time
industrial areas crammed with Labor voters.

This move is akin to a shotgun marriage between Manhattan and New
Jersey but the backlash is really on with revelations about Frank
Sartor screaming at Lucy Turnbull and we wouldn’t be at all surprised
to see Labor lose in spite of the forced merger.

How taxpayers are helping Michael Lee

A subscriber writes:

“My mailbox was graced over the weekend by Tanya Plibersek’s hideously
purple community newsletter for her constituents in the Federal seat of
Sydney. The usual 4 pages of self-promoting palaver has ballooned to an
8 page (taxpayer-funded) extravaganza.

Interestingly, a certain Mr Micheal Lee features twice in the brochure,
including a large spread on the back page promising to build a new pool
at Ultimo – an article which would not look out of place in a campaign
brochure. It must be a fine thing indeed to be able to use taxpayer
provided resources to campaign for local government.

However, it’s a good thing I’ve seen the TV news recently, because I
certainly wouldn’t have known who was the new Labor leader from Tanya’s
“newsletter”. Mark Latham doesn’t rate a mention by name, let alone a
photo – which is somewhat ironic considering Latham’s own attitude to
past leaders of the ALP.

I’d be very interested to know how much this newsletter cost the
taxpayer, as I’d estimate you wouldn’t get much change out of $10,000
for a print run like that.

Paddington Piers”

Fear and loathing at Sydney Town Hall

The geniuses in the Carr Government have managed to engineer yet
another train system fiasco to overshadow the backlash against the
sacking and forced merger of Sydney and South Sydney council. Here are
three contributions to the debate, starting with someone who knows
Frank Sartor:

By a Sartor Watcher

It seems former Sydney Lord Mayor Frank Sartor has reverted to type.
Once known as Cranky Frankie on account of his foul temper and
adolescent tantrums, he mellowed somewhat in his last years but now
he’s back on song, bawling out his loyal deputy and successor, calling
her a ‘p*ssant’ and declaring the leader of the NSW State opposition a

Insiders at Tammany Hall reckon it’s a bit rich of Frank to brand Lucy
as ‘hysterical’. Given the right conditions, no one could throw an
hysterical hissy fit like Frank. It was an Academy Award performance,
honed with years of practice.

At one time it seemed that he needed at least one outburst a day to
maintain control over his cowering staff who left in their legions. Few
at Town Hall doubt the authenticity of Turnbull’s record of Frank’s
trans-Tasman outburst. And they all know who the hysteric is.

Open slather for Labor developers

By a supporter of sensible town planning

It appears Foxy Frankie Sartor’s loutish behaviour towards Lucy
Turnbull and Opposition Leader John Brogden may just be a sideshow to
divert attention from one of the Labor Party’s Sussex Street bruisers’
sneakier ploys.

A close reading of yesterday’s  Sydney Morning Herald reveals this
par: “Mr Pooley (Tony Pooley, the former Labour Mayor of South Sydney)
and Mr Payne (Local Government Department head Garry Payne) were also
invited to sit on the new body’s central planning committee …”

As suggested in Crikey recently, this whole elaborate charade is simply
an attempt by the bruvvers to get their hands on the development
approval process. And the reason the experienced Turnbull was not
invited to sit on the central planning committee is that she’s known to
be far tougher with developers than her male colleagues.

A Labor lefty lashes out

By a Labor Lefty

Those of us from the inner city Left, aka the “rank and file”, really
should have known better some months ago about the sham of boundaries
commissions and public hearings. Tony Kelly, the minister who does what
he’s told to do by Sussex Street was a late scratching from a party
fundraiser just two days before last year’s NSW State ALP conference.

How late? Like 3pm on the day of the dinner…and the fund raiser,
booked weeks in advance ,was to raise funds for the Sydney City and
South Sydney Labor candidates! 
But what is really getting up everyone’s nose is the shameful waste of
taxpayers, money on a commission whose decision went against a majority
of the submissions it  heard.

Four Commissioners and staff sitting through two days of hastily
convened hearings and a host of written submissions, most of which were
probably not even read. And all of this to bring about a merger in the
name of cost savings. Not only have the Commissioners lost any shred of
credibility they may have had, but it really does make the Minister
look shabby to say the least.

Peter Fray

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