Calls for Sydney councillor Shayne Mallard to stand aside pending an investigation into his financial relationships with pub donors highlights an inherent conflict with councillors taking money from potential developers, especially if they relate to sensitive heritage sites (SSO 994).
However, the germane issue in this case is not about what type of interest is declared, as Mallard suggests, but about what effect the donations and his actions had on due process.
In this case Mallard was required to leave the room during debate and not vote on the decision, but deliberately did not; that’s the nub of the problem. How other councillors voted is irrelevant.
Sydney Council has now received official complaints and should appoint an independent adjudicator to determine if council was, in fact, properly constituted at the time and if the DAs in question are still legally valid, and whether the matter should be referred to the NSW Ombudsman, the Local Government Minister or the ICAC in the public interest.
— Andrew Woodhouse, President, Potts Point and King Cross Heritage Conservation Society
Claims by City of Sydney Council that complaints against Councillor Mallard must be received in writing are incorrect (SSO 994), as I lodged a complaint by email which was accepted.
Further, it’s been suggested Lord Mayor Clover Moore also breached funding laws in accepting donations from a major political sponsor while voting on their development applications (‘Clover under fire for donation disclosures’, City News October 22, 2009).
One thing is certain. Political donations will always be cause for concern, and the only real solution is to abolish them all together.
In response to NSW Police raiding our venues over the last year armed with sniffer dogs, a group has been created on Facebook, ‘NSW Police & Sniffer Dogs — Your Rights’, with aims to inform the community of their rights when approached by police with dogs and the correct procedures that should follow.
The group has become a public forum with numbers tripling in the last few days. We are encouraging our members to post their stories and experiences on the wall, to participate in the discussions section and post photographs. Many have submitted links to articles relevant to the topic and to reports by the NSW Council for Civil Liberties and NSW State Parliament on the issue.
We are hoping to spread the word about our group and have more people contribute their stories and experiences to help others who may find themselves in similar situations one day as well as create an interesting reference source.
To join, simply search ‘NSW Police & Sniffer Dogs — Your Rights’. It is open to anyone.
While entering the party this year, I was approached by police and told the sniffer dog had indicated I was carrying drugs, even though the dog was two metres away, did not pay interest in me, and did not sit next to me.
I was told I could hand it over, in which case the drugs would be confiscated but I would be let into the party or, I could be stripped down to my underwear and searched then and there in public. I was told if I was searched and they found drugs, my ticket would be torn up. Having been led to believe there would be no criminal consequences for a voluntary admission, I handed over my two pills. I was then arrested and charged.
If you want to enjoy your party, my advice is: be calm and do not raise the suspicion of police by trying to avoid the dog; know your rights — the police only have the right to search you if the dog sits down next to you; do not think the dog needs to smell anything for the police to search you — this may be true under the law, but it is your word against theirs and the police know this; do not trust what the police tell you; and think twice about what you take to your party.
— Name withheld
Stephen (Letters, SSO 994) seems to have a few of his ideas jumbled up in his letter supporting the behaviour of the NSW Police at Sleaze.
Of course everybody knows drugs are illegal. The illegality of drugs is an entirely different matter to that of claims of victimisation and illegal behaviour on the part of the police, and trying to mix the two issues is disingenuous.
People are entitled to take a stand against police searches and this is in no way “interfering with a police officer doing his or her job”. The person being searched must give their consent.
Stephen warns ominously that “you most likely will be charged with hindering a police officer, assaulting a police officer, or perverting the course of justice. These are serious criminal offences”. He then says you should question their behaviour only in court.
Notwithstanding that the path to a courthouse is via a charge — a charge does not equal an offence. Stephen’s language smells like the pseudo-intimidating script the police themselves are given to equip them to deal with 16-year-olds.
NSW is a very badly managed state on all levels and the police are no exception. While the talking heads from the Surry Hills command make all the right noises, many people are sick and tired of the poorly trained dime-store commandoes who deign to ‘police’ us.
I do not care whether or not the police march in the Mardi Gras Parade — it has become so boring in recent years that whether or not the police march is of little matter.
There need to be more fun and laughs in the parade. Better signage and signs carried so that they may be read.
There needs to be a limit on the number of people marching representing various groups such as the police, ambulance, emergency services, etc — not long lines of people.
Dykes on Bykes should be restricted in numbers and appear only once — not ride down the route before the parade commences, then lead the parade, then appear again as occurred last year. No more than 15-20 bikes please, and more drag and fun!
So New Mardi Gras are too gutless to listen to the wishes of ‘their’ community and kick the police out of the parade.
I propose we have another group following directly after the police, carrying large banners expressing our anger at their behaviour.
Large signs such as ‘Know Your Rights’, ‘Stop Illegal Police Searches’, ‘Say No To Police Anal Probes’, ‘We need a Police Force for the People, not a Government-Run Paramilitary Force’, ‘Police are Racist and Homophobic,’ etc.
The parade started out as a protest match and a call for action and it looks like we have to do it all again.
INTO THE CLOSET
While we bleat about our right to marry so a few of us can whitewash themselves ‘normal’ the community is being herded into the closet.
The police harass us everywhere, we are intimidated with dogs, illegally searched, humiliated with being made to strip in public, and bars and clubs are subjected to lockouts without just cause.
We are given little protection from homophobes and our attackers go free or use the homosexual advances defence for greatly reduced punishments. We must stop acting like sheep and assert our right to be us.