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Inner south crowd spurn ALP, Greens

By Charlotte Harper - 28 September 2016 26

Liberal and Canberra Community Voters candidates

If the crowd at the Inner South Canberra Community Council’s election forum tonight is representative of Canberra voting intentions generally, both Labor and the Greens are in BIG trouble.*

There will be no light rail in Canberra after the election, not over the dead bodies of many of these voters.**

The Safe Schools program will be banished, never to be mentioned again. Ditto the acronym LGBTQI, which left several attendees looking confused when dropped into the conversation by Greens candidate Rebecca Vassarotti.

Crowd

Rates will be frozen for two years, then capped in line with CPI.***

There will be no development at Manuka Oval at all. Unsolicited proposals will be banned.

Politicians will keep in touch with voters by spending their weekends and evenings door-knocking beyond the campaign, nay, in perpetuity.****

Independent, Labor, Greens and minor party candidates.

Independent candidate Marea Fatseas, who is clearly something of a heroine in this particular community, will be Chief Minister as a compromise between the two major parties in the Assembly: the Liberals and the Canberra Community Voters group.

Wow. Until this moment, I had believed the experts who have been telling me for months that candidates from the major parties and Greens were the only ones with a chance of being elected.

Now I’m not so sure. If ever there were a room full of people who seemed as though they might think 15 years was long enough for one mob to be in government, this was it. If ever there were a room full of voters who were cynical about the major parties, I’d found it. If ever there were a room full of voters who were ready to embrace alternatives if it might mean relief from rising rates and the “horrors” of a light rail network, I was sitting in it.

You could almost hear them all (yes, all) making a mental note to refer back to come election day when Mike Hettinger of Canberra Community Voters advised them that the only way to be sure of getting independent candidates up was to leave the boxes next to Labor, Liberals and Greens blank and number only the boxes for the minor party representatives and independents.

I have no doubt that readers (and political candidates and their minders) will take one look at the photograph here and dismiss this crowd as “old” and “out of touch”.

I can’t argue with the former given one major plus about the whole event was how youthful I felt in their presence.

But out of touch? These are residents who regularly attend community meetings, read newspapers and listen to the radio. They contribute substantially to the Territory’s revenue each year through their high rates (yes, calculated on land value of the inner south blocks on which they live, but high from their perspective in the context of the retirement incomes from which they must be paid). These are voters who have genuine concerns that have not been addressed successfully by the Barr Government to date.

The wars over Manuka Oval, the Yarralumla Brickworks and MOCCA/Telopea Park School tennis courts are in the past (for the moment, at least), but new battlegrounds emerge constantly, with the matter of a six-storey hotel directly opposite Forrest Primary among those mentioned last night.

These are the issues that have mobilised this crowd, this time, but you get the feeling many of these electors have been mobilised before. They probably voted against self-government or for the Residents Rally at the first Legislative Assembly election in 1989. Have they been this angry and anti-establishment since? I doubt it.

Will their vote have an impact in the seat of Kurrajong next month? Sure. Ms Fatseas is shaping up to be the most successful of all independent candidates running at this election. Will it be enough to see her win office? I doubt it.

* Both Greens candidate Rebecca Vassarotti and Labor candidate Rachel Stevens-Smith spoke calmly and rationally about the cost of light rail, but were shouted down by those in the audience who deemed their statements to be outright lies.
** Independent candidate Peter Robinson promised at one point that though he was anti-tram, he would not go so far as to throw himself under one, Anna Karenina-style, if the light rail went ahead.
*** Canberra Community Voters candidate Lucinda Spier is making the rates issue her own, harking back to her days as founder of the Canberra Rates Association late last century. Ms Spier is also focused on government transparency.
Her husband is registered as a lobbyist in the ACT Legislative Assembly on behalf of clients including the Superbarn group and Australian Hotels Association. Ms Spier’s name also appears on that listing, as a company director, but she is not a lobbyist herself as earlier reported here.
**** One Liberal candidate, Brooke Curtin (as in the suburb, as she reminded us three times) claims she stopped counting doors upon which she has knocked in recent months at 7000. There were nods of acknowledgement at her commitment level around the room.

Frankly, we were also impressed. Come to think of it, this whole exercise was impressive. It made me feel very fortunate to live in a city in which so many are engaged with our democratic processes.

Speaking of which, departing felt a little like arriving at a polling booth. Supporters of Ms Fatseas were waiting at the main exit with copies of the independent candidate’s flyer and a photocopy of an anti-light rail article. I took copies of each then stepped outside the room, only to stumble upon this:

Marea Fatseas

The major parties were nowhere to be seen.

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Inner south crowd spurn ALP, Greens
1
irritable 1:24 am
28 Sep 16
#

“old” and “out of touch”

Yes, and generally not representative of the typical Canberra demographic that averages 34 years of age. These are the usual vocal minority, your typical Canberra NIMBYs.

No more than 50 people in a room holding a grudge won’t make any difference to the voting habits of the (generally politically apathetic) silent majority who continue to vote along party lines as they always have.

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2
aussielyn 1:51 am
28 Sep 16
#

Good report on the meeting, I was present.
Marea Fatseas, as an Independent, has little chance up against the party machines but she is having a go. She is not facebook savvy and so will not reach the younger demographic that have no idea the work she has put into advocating for her community and her ethics.
Both parties have rigged the system to limit the chances of independents

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3
rommeldog56 7:57 am
28 Sep 16
#

irritable said :

“old” and “out of touch”

Yes, and generally not representative of the typical Canberra demographic that averages 34 years of age. These are the usual vocal minority, your typical Canberra NIMBYs.

No more than 50 people in a room holding a grudge won’t make any difference to the voting habits of the (generally politically apathetic) silent majority who continue to vote along party lines as they always have.

So, let me get this right. If an ACT voter/ratepayer isn’t one of these “generally politically apathetic” silent majority, they are NIMBYS ? Pretty narrow view of things. However, personally I agree with your claim that the silent majority will continue to vote along party lines. Sadly.

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4
reddy84 9:46 am
28 Sep 16
#

The demographics of the inner south are not representative of the rest of the ACT. They are older, wealthier, more conservative and extremely protective of their financial assets and lifestyle (sometimes to the detriment of the greater population). Just have a look at their historical voting preference compared to everyone else.

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5
dungfungus 12:03 pm
28 Sep 16
#

reddy84 said :

The demographics of the inner south are not representative of the rest of the ACT. They are older, wealthier, more conservative and extremely protective of their financial assets and lifestyle (sometimes to the detriment of the greater population). Just have a look at their historical voting preference compared to everyone else.

In what way are this demographic’s attitude “sometimes to the detriment of the greater population”?

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6
bringontheevidence 2:12 pm
28 Sep 16
#

dungfungus said :

reddy84 said :

The demographics of the inner south are not representative of the rest of the ACT. They are older, wealthier, more conservative and extremely protective of their financial assets and lifestyle (sometimes to the detriment of the greater population). Just have a look at their historical voting preference compared to everyone else.

In what way are this demographic’s attitude “sometimes to the detriment of the greater population”?

Because older, wealthier residents of established suburbs do everything in their power to prevent new development anywhere near them, restricting access to those areas to new residents and forcing the population to spread out to new areas away from services and work.

Think about the brickworks selfishness. Instead of a new, vibrant precinct with some 1800 dwellings in the inner south, with close access to Civic and the Parliamentary Triangle, the number of dwellings has been slashed to 360 odd. That means something like 2000 people who ‘could’ have lived in Yarralumla will now have to find somewhere else to live. That means either much more clearing and development on the outskirts, or potentially a lot more demand (and therefore cost) on other developments around the inner north and inner south.

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7
dungfungus 4:49 pm
28 Sep 16
#

bringontheevidence said :

dungfungus said :

reddy84 said :

The demographics of the inner south are not representative of the rest of the ACT. They are older, wealthier, more conservative and extremely protective of their financial assets and lifestyle (sometimes to the detriment of the greater population). Just have a look at their historical voting preference compared to everyone else.

In what way are this demographic’s attitude “sometimes to the detriment of the greater population”?

Because older, wealthier residents of established suburbs do everything in their power to prevent new development anywhere near them, restricting access to those areas to new residents and forcing the population to spread out to new areas away from services and work.

Think about the brickworks selfishness. Instead of a new, vibrant precinct with some 1800 dwellings in the inner south, with close access to Civic and the Parliamentary Triangle, the number of dwellings has been slashed to 360 odd. That means something like 2000 people who ‘could’ have lived in Yarralumla will now have to find somewhere else to live. That means either much more clearing and development on the outskirts, or potentially a lot more demand (and therefore cost) on other developments around the inner north and inner south.

Did it ever occur to you that not everybody wants Canberra to become “vibrant”?

Why is that Canberra must have this unbridled development?

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8
justin heywood 6:15 pm
28 Sep 16
#

bringontheevidence said :

Because older, wealthier residents of established suburbs do everything in their power to prevent new development….

reddy84 said :

…not representative of the rest of the ACT. They are …extremely protective of their financial assets and lifestyle (sometimes to the detriment of the greater population).

So…. you don’t like these people because they are self-interested, unlike the selfless, public-spirited people of other suburbs. Presumably, if it wasn’t for them you’d be in a funky new townhouse in Yarralumla, for a song.

Perhaps (just perhaps), you don’t like these people because they didn’t cheer for whatever team you follow.

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9
bringontheevidence 8:10 pm
28 Sep 16
#

justin heywood said :

bringontheevidence said :

Because older, wealthier residents of established suburbs do everything in their power to prevent new development….

reddy84 said :

…not representative of the rest of the ACT. They are …extremely protective of their financial assets and lifestyle (sometimes to the detriment of the greater population).

So…. you don’t like these people because they are self-interested, unlike the selfless, public-spirited people of other suburbs. Presumably, if it wasn’t for them you’d be in a funky new townhouse in Yarralumla, for a song.

Perhaps (just perhaps), you don’t like these people because they didn’t cheer for whatever team you follow.

To be honest yes, I am annoyed that I don’t even have the option of buying a nice townhouse or 3brm apartment in a place like Yarralumla. So instead of having a great place available to raise children that’s close to work, close to the lake and close to the city I have to settle for something further out that costs me more to travel and is nowhere near the lake and its extensive (taxpayer funded) parklands.

My taxes and rates then have to fund more roads and PT, the surrounding bushland of Canberra is forced to be eroded by more and more suburbs, and way too much of my time and everyone elses is spent travelling from place to place.

All so a bunch of selfish NIMBYs can keep land that isn’t theirs being developed for the benefit of the other 95 per cent of the population?

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10
justin heywood 9:13 pm
28 Sep 16
#

bringontheevidence said :

To be honest yes, I am annoyed that I don’t even have the option of buying a nice townhouse or 3brm apartment in a place like Yarralumla. So instead of having a great place available to raise children that’s close to work, close to the lake and close to the city I have to settle for something further out that costs me more to travel and is nowhere near the lake and its extensive (taxpayer funded) parklands.

A couple of points;

-Does it not occur to you that one of the main reasons Yarralumla is a nice area is precisely because it HASN’T been developed into wall-to-wall townhouses?
.
– I share your annoyance that I can’t afford to live in a better area (Mosman foreshore in my case). But I blame my lack of application at school and my discovery of sex whilst at University for my lack of good fortune, rather than blame the people who currently live on the Mosman foreshore.

And if you’re looking for someone to blame for Canberra’s sprawling nature, I reckon you need to look somewhat higher up the food chain than a community meeting.

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11
Masquara 9:52 pm
28 Sep 16
#

Yeah – I got a call from a worried-sounding Labor volunteer. Too late! I pre-polled.

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12
rommeldog56 10:47 pm
28 Sep 16
#

bringontheevidence said :

To be honest yes, I am annoyed that I don’t even have the option of buying a nice townhouse or 3brm apartment in a place like Yarralumla. So instead of having a great place available to raise children that’s close to work, close to the lake and close to the city I have to settle for something further out that costs me more to travel and is nowhere near the lake and its extensive (taxpayer funded) parklands.

My taxes and rates then have to fund more roads and PT, the surrounding bushland of Canberra is forced to be eroded by more and more suburbs, and way too much of my time and everyone elses is spent travelling from place to place.

All so a bunch of selfish NIMBYs can keep land that isn’t theirs being developed for the benefit of the other 95 per cent of the population?

Just another example on here of the politics on envy. Like may of the Yarralumla residents no doubt did to afford to buy there, maybe work harder, do better. I dont begrudge them living there or defending the suburb/lifestyle/environment they have.

Alternatively, vote in a soviet/socialist style Govt here and maybe all Yarralumla residences could be requisitioned by the State and reallocated.

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13
bringontheevidence 10:19 am
29 Sep 16
#

rommeldog56 said :

bringontheevidence said :

To be honest yes, I am annoyed that I don’t even have the option of buying a nice townhouse or 3brm apartment in a place like Yarralumla. So instead of having a great place available to raise children that’s close to work, close to the lake and close to the city I have to settle for something further out that costs me more to travel and is nowhere near the lake and its extensive (taxpayer funded) parklands.

My taxes and rates then have to fund more roads and PT, the surrounding bushland of Canberra is forced to be eroded by more and more suburbs, and way too much of my time and everyone elses is spent travelling from place to place.

All so a bunch of selfish NIMBYs can keep land that isn’t theirs being developed for the benefit of the other 95 per cent of the population?

Just another example on here of the politics on envy. Like may of the Yarralumla residents no doubt did to afford to buy there, maybe work harder, do better. I dont begrudge them living there or defending the suburb/lifestyle/environment they have.

Alternatively, vote in a soviet/socialist style Govt here and maybe all Yarralumla residences could be requisitioned by the State and reallocated.

You completely missed my point.

Where I ‘want’ to live is really irrelevant to the story, what matters is people opposing the development of something that isn’t theirs (vacant public land) is actually imposing significant costs on everyone except themselves.

It’s not about ‘envy’. Envy would be wanting to take something that is theirs. The land around the brickworks, LBG and it’s parklands are not owned by the residents of Yarralumla, they are owned by all Canberrans. By denying access to those public assets the residents are actually appropriating property that bis not their own for their own benefit.

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14
KentFitch 11:41 am
29 Sep 16
#

bringontheevidence said :

To be honest yes, I am annoyed that I don’t even have the option of buying a nice townhouse or 3brm apartment in a place like Yarralumla. So instead of having a great place available to raise children that’s close to work, close to the lake and close to the city I have to settle for something further out that costs me more to travel and is nowhere near the lake and its extensive (taxpayer funded) parklands.

My taxes and rates then have to fund more roads and PT, the surrounding bushland of Canberra is forced to be eroded by more and more suburbs, and way too much of my time and everyone elses is spent travelling from place to place.

All so a bunch of selfish NIMBYs can keep land that isn’t theirs being developed for the benefit of the other 95 per cent of the population?

Who wouldnt want to live in Yarralumla! I would too. Maybe we should encourage 20 storey blocks there to get more people sharing the benefits?

So, bringontheevidence, I’m wondering, say when the Brickworks are redeveloped, leaving plenty of green space for your kids to play in (curse those NIMBYs for not building the place out..), and you took the big gulp and signed up for the mortgage on your $2m 3 bed townhouse, and life was sweet as…

Next year, some property developers said to their LDA buddies “that park opposite those townhouses – bit excessive, dont you reckon, mate? Hardly ever used when we drive past. Bit on an eyesore, actually – gone a bit feral – people are worried about groups of teenagers hanging about there. And underutilised, dont you think? Look, we got this crack architect to give us some ideas – he did a lot of the Foreshore icons – here’s a plan for real value capture – nice compact 10 storey development of 80 eco-units, some of them are two bedrooms, but we dont think they need windows in that 2nd bedroom – lets us keep the facade clean. ‘Yarralumla EcoSkyTower’ we’re calling it. And we’re putting in some vibrant swinging hot-spots on the ground floor – finally you’ll be able to get a decent cappachino in Yarralumla – you guys will clean up – there’s an extra $300K annually in rates just there, and we’ll slip you $10m for the land – happy days!”

I guess you’d be responding to the DA, saying “80 units! Come-on, build 20 stories and make it worthwhile!”

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15
KentFitch 12:02 pm
29 Sep 16
#

bringontheevidence said :

You completely missed my point.

Where I ‘want’ to live is really irrelevant to the story, what matters is people opposing the development of something that isn’t theirs (vacant public land) is actually imposing significant costs on everyone except themselves.

It’s not about ‘envy’. Envy would be wanting to take something that is theirs. The land around the brickworks, LBG and it’s parklands are not owned by the residents of Yarralumla, they are owned by all Canberrans. By denying access to those public assets the residents are actually appropriating property that bis not their own for their own benefit.

Back in the 1970’s the first “Green Ban” was put in place to prevent the clearing of Kelly’s Bush, the last undeveloped part of Hunter’s Hill (goddam “vacant public land”, practically Terra bloody Nullius). The local NIMBYs asked the BLF and Jack Mundey for help, and a movement began which I think most people are now grateful for. Sir Robert Askin was not amused. His mates felt let-down.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/230397532
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/230399422
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/110758730
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/116343501

Take a step back and think about different ways of maximising quality of life and minimising environmental harm which don’t fit into current ideological lines. You don’t have to destroy the environment to save it. “First, do no harm.”

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