Max Phillips, a newly elected Greens councillor in Marrickville and the Greens' campaign coordinator for the September 13 NSW local government elections, puts the swing to the Greens down to the state Labor government's implosion.
Developer donations to Labor, and the ALP's pro-developer laws, were crucial to the Greens winning broad support, Phillips told Green Left Weekly. The widespread opposition to the state government's moves to privatise electricity also helped the Greens, he said.
In Marrickville and Leichhardt, traditionally ALP strongholds, the Greens out-polled Labor. In Marrickville, the Greens received 40% of the vote compared to Labor's 29%. In Leichhardt, the Greens received 46% compared to Labor's 25%.
Phillips said the Greens had also firmed up support outside their inner-city stronghold. There will be more Greens councillors in North Sydney, Lane Cove, Willoughby and Hornsby councils, and in the Blue Mountains, and Manly and Warringah on the northern beaches.
The Greens also increased their regional representation in Wagga Wagga, Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Orange, Yass and Byron Shire where popularly elected Greens mayor Jan Barham received more than 50% of the vote.
The Greens are now demanding that the NSW government review six major residential development decisions given the go-ahead by the former NSW planning minister Frank Sartor. The new minister, Kristina Keneally, has so far refused the Greens' demand for an independent review of Sartor's decisions that were favourable to ALP donors. According to the Greens, nearly $900,000 was donated by these developers to the NSW ALP.
The Greens are also calling on the state government to repeal the pro-developer planning laws and ban corporate donations to political parties.