Concerned Citizen of Newtown

Earlier today I wrote a letter to my local member of the NSW Parliament, the Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, telling him…

Hi Alex
I just want to put on the record my concerns about the boundaries for the new seat of Newtown, which I discovered this week I’ll be voting in at the forthcoming election.

I was overseas for a number of months in 2013 during the consultation period, and so missed an opportunity to raise my concerns. Until I received the letter from the SEC I wasn’t even aware the changes had been proposed and gazetted.

The rationale for the boundaries for the new seat are confusing. I’m now part of a seat which contains suburbs I have absolutely no connection with such as Petersham and I’m now disconnected with suburbs like Moore Park, and Darlinghurst which are within walking distance, and which I think represent a more natural community of interest. Those who drew the boundaries seem to have used rather blunt tools to accommodate the need for a new seat to reflect the growing inner city population.

Anyway, it’s done, and I’m sad, because I’ll be losing you as a local member, and even though I’m sure we’ll end up with a fabulous new member (Greens, ALP likely), I suspect they’ll have a tough job trying to represent the views of quite different suburbs with few natural connections to each other.

A few hours later, I received this reply

Dear James

Alex has asked me to respond to your message about the boundary changes. Thanks for your comment about losing him as your MP – sadly there are lot of people in Alex’s network who soon won’t be his constituents.

Alex opposed the division of Surry Hills into two electorates and made submissions to the Boundaries Commission about their proposal.

Unfortunately inner city population growth continues to mean that the central city electorates will have to keep being made smaller.

We hope that there is a strong and progressive MP for the Newtown electorate after 28 March. Please make sure that your voice is heard in the process and you keep whoever it is accountable over the next four years.

Regards
Roy Bishop JP
Electorate Officer for Alex Greenwich MP

I should declare I quite like Alex. Followed on from Clover Moore. Independent. Openly gay. He sent me a hand-written Christmas card this year. Yaddah yaddah.

Irrespective of that, I’m somewhat dumbfounded I’ve ended up in this new electorate which Antony Green descibes as “very higgledy-piggledy” and which is notionally Green.

Yours,

Concerned Citizen of Newtown

  1. Don’t you feel a little annoyed. I did when I was chucked out of one seat into another, into a seat apparently full of homosexual voters. Well, live and let live, I say. I never dreamed the seat I was moved to would be almost a three way tie with the winner being a Green who was also a local councillor in a very blue ribbon local government area. The older I become, the less predictable politics becomes.

    But seriously, every electorate should have a good mix of voters and come on, Petersham is not that bad………..is it?

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  2. Agree that every seat should be a good mix of voters, but also agree the seat should contain some common interests. For example, Surry Hill’s major concern right now, development wise, is the light rail project. Also, Surry has been split in two between those who live one side of Albion Street and those who don’t.

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  3. One of us, one of us. Welcome to the fold – says the Petersham resident.

    Thanks Andrew – we are really not that bad!

    Seriously we have so many gay couples in this area who moved from Surry Hills/Darlinghurst because it was an affordable area to buy in (though it is probably not anymore).

    I have no idea who the candidate will be, but I’d be very shocked if we didn’t end up Green.

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    1. Yes you’re okay, it’s the thong-wearers in Newtown that concern me :) (Joking)

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  4. Very, very good point about the Light Rail and the common interests.

    I feel like in this new area we all have very common macro kind of interests (in that we would all be fairly left-leaning), but yes we don’t have the sort of local commonalities that would make for some sort of voting-bloc.

    I wonder if that was the point of the re-drawing. To sort of dilute the electorate?

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  5. Neither side of politics has enjoyed Clover’s hold on the area, which I suspect has been transferred on to Greenwich. Splitting a cohesive suburb like Surry into two makes no sense.

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