Lord mayoral candidates pledge LGBTI support
With only a few days left before voters hit the booths for the City of Sydney local government elections, two more candidates are making a final appeal to the city’s LGBTI community.
The hotly anticipated elections are due to take place on Saturday, September 8, with a number of parties making attempts in recent weeks to win the vote of LGBTI denizens in a bid to oust incumbent Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who is viewed as a long time ally of the LGBTI community.
Greens mayoral candidate Irene Doutney however has said it is her party that has “always stood” with the community.
“The Greens are the only political party who have always supported gay rights and marriage equality with an openly gay leader in Bob Brown who recently retired to spend time with his partner Paul and to continue his environmental activism,” Doutney said.
“The Greens don’t just pop up when there’s an election on we have always been with the community through thick and thin.”
Doutney, who is currently a City of Sydney councillor and was a participant in the original Mardi Gras protest in 1978, confirmed that should she be re-elected she would stand by a Greens commitment to place a Notice of Motion before the new Council for the creation of a Mardi Gras museum at the former T2 site at Taylor Square.
“After decades of Oxford Street being the geographic home of the GLBTIQ community it was time to return it to its former glory and Taylor Square was the perfect place to begin the reformation with a museum in remembrance of 35 years of gay activism and the fabulous creators who made the parade so memorable,” Doutney said.
Meanwhile, independent candidate Dixie Coulton has aired her LGBTI credentials ahead of her run to return to Town Hall, with the former deputy lord mayor telling SX she would work to revitalise Oxford Street after years of council neglect.
Having previously served under former Mayor Frank Sartor in 2003-04, Coulton said she was standing in the election as current Council policies were hampering small business and residents while there was a lack of “open, transparent consultation” with local communities.
“Clover Moore’s extreme anti-car policy has killed Oxford Street – what was once a vibrant and major arterial street is now becoming a retail waste land. Every day we see the increasing number of ‘for lease’ signs. I would remove the clearways till later, and reintroduce on street parking,” Coulton said.
“Transportation, such as light rail, would potentially be an additional and tremendous help in getting people back to Oxford Street, especially if such measures introduced a feeling of a special sense of place such as the Champs Elysee-style cafe scene, or Little Italy, like Norton Street.”
Coulton has also promised her support to the likes of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and ACON, saying she would consider matching funding commitments announced by Labor earlier in the campaign that would see Mardi Gras receive $250,000 annually and ACON $100,000 per year in funding from Council.
“If the figures that Labor are promising make sense, then I would commit to funding on the same levels, as I believe in the importance of the contribution made by the community and the importance of looking after the community,” she told SX.