• Tony Bosworth

Greens call for local government elections to be put off for 28 days to plan for COVID-safe voting

The Greens NSW are calling for an immediate deferral of 28 days for local government elections in Greater Sydney which are currently set for September 4.

Greens Local Government spokesperson and state MP David Shoebridge says the move is essential for public safety to allow urgent emergency arrangements for postal votes for all councils in the greater Sydney lockdown – which includes the Hawkesbury.

Mr Shoebridge said it was “far too risky to be planning to have people congregate at polling booths at this time and alternate emergency arrangements need to be immediately put in place for postal voting”.

The election had already been postponed for a year from September 2020 and Mr Shoebridge said there had been plenty of time to foresee the current situation but no significant steps had yet been taken by the government.

“The strategy of the Coalition seems to be hoping this all goes away so that they won’t have to plan for a COVID-safe election in September. That’s not good enough,” said Mr Shoebridge.

“They postponed this election from September 2020 and it’s almost a year later and they appear to have just been hoping for the best that whole time.

“We now need a 28 day deferral for elections across Greater Sydney together with an immediate move to a postal vote in these councils to deal with this emergency.

“It’s late July and the Coalition is in deep denial about what’s going to happen on 4 September. The level of democracy closest to the people deserves much more respect than this,” he said.

“You can be sure that this heel dragging wouldn’t be happening if it was a State or Federal election.

“Local campaigns also need clear guidance on how they are able campaign, with the lack of information directly benefiting the big players with deep pockets who can afford to send direct mail to everyone in their area, rather than relying on volunteers and community links.

“People shouldn’t have to choose between their safety and exercising their democratic rights and for that to happen Greater Sydney needs an immediate emergency move to universal postal votes,” Mr Shoebridge said.

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