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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Plebiscite on Power Sell-off at NSW Council Elections

I support the call for plebiscite on the proposed energy sell-off at NSW council election, a plebiscite or referendum on this unpopular and anti-environment policy of privatisation of NSW's energy power industry, could easily take place at the same time as the council elections on September 13.

Some 85 per cent of residents in NSW do not want our energy generators and retailers to be sold off. Premier Morris Iemma's own party has told him and Michael Costa, by a margin of 7 to 1 that they disagree with privatisation. Iemma has been forced to withdraw the energy bills for this session of parliament, due to a lack of support from his own Members of Parliament.

Socialist Alliance says that Iemma and Costa should listen to the public. Put the sell-off to the public: let democracy prevail. This is also the view of the Blue Mountains People Power group opposing privatisation. Also local Blue Mountains MP Phil Koperberg should be commended for opposing privatisation.Socialist Alliance supports the power industry workers who know that some of their work mates will be out of a job if this sale goes ahead.

We also support their calls for action if anyone is sacked, or if the energy bills go through with the support Liberal, Nationals, Shooters and Fred Nile. Like many others, we don't think that a sale will help shift energy production away from its main power base - polluting coal – towards the sustainable energy sector. To do this requires a political commitment to finding real and lasting solutions to the climate crisis – something that this government doesn't have.

Socialist Alliance has been given advice by the State Electoral Commission that such a plebiscite would be possible. The state government only has to ask the governor to issue a writ, and a plebiscite could be carried out at the same time as the council elections on September 13.

Let the people decide after all, this is what democracy is supposed to be about isn't it?

John Tognolini, Socialist Alliance Candidate for Ward One Blue Mountains City Council.

published in Blue Mountains Gazette July 9 2008

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