Open Council Charter for Marrickville
By Dave Wright
SYDNEY — Green councillor Bruce Welch and community independent Sonia Laverty are using their balance of power on the Marrickville Council to attempt to force adoption of an Open Council Charter.
Local government elections on September 14 returned a council of five ALP members, five conservative independents and the two progressives. Welch, the candidate of the South Sydney Greens, gained 17% of the primary vote in Henson ward. Laverty, a member of the New Left Party, was elected on the Community Independent ticket.
The election result, Welch said, "showed that the people want to see real alternatives to the way the ALP operates.
"The Greens want to see an open council.The key to this process is grassroots democracy and the need to network with other groups and individuals."
The Open Council Charter is "largely taken from the North Sydney Council model", Welch said. It includes a call for open access to council files, the right of residents and rate payers to attend and contribute to any council or council committee meetings, provision of distinctive and secure noticeboards in shopping centres, disclosure of pecuniary interests of councillors and all major development applications to be referred to public meetings.
The Greens and Community Independents decided to support Barry Cotter from the ALP left for mayor when he agreed to support the bulk of the charter.
"Barry Cotter is mayor for one year only", Welch said. "Who is mayor in 1992 depends on the level of real support for the Open Council Charter."