Bus drivers and their supporters turned their backs on NSW transport minister Andrew Constance as he spoke in a parliamentary debate on the government's plans to privatise all remaining publicly owned bus services in Sydney on March 5.
The privatisation of bus services in Newcastle and Sydney's inner west has already resulted in poorer and less reliable services.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and senior ministers did not show up for the debate, which had been forced after more than 10,000 signatures on a petition against the planned privatisation were delivered in February.
"The government was furious," said a spokesperson for the Keep Our Buses Public campaign. "They threatened to kick us out of Parliament House."
"Turning our backs was one small act of defiance, but its only one part of our campaign."
Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey, who was with the bus drivers in the public gallery, said: “Since taking over Sydney’s Region 6 services in the Inner West, private operator Transit Systems has failed to meet its on-time running [Key Performance Indicators] every month.
“It’s a basic responsibility of our government to provide a safe, clean, affordable and reliable public transport network. Gladys Berejiklian should stop defending the indefensible, and take this opportunity to abandon bus privatisation altogether.”
[You can send a letter to your local MP calling on them to to oppose bus privatisation here.]