Busybody councillors in way of our freedom
Uppity councillors are ruling Sydney suburbs as their personal fiefdoms, using red tape and nanny state policies to keep the residents they serve locked in a bureaucratic creche.
To add insult to injury, some of these imperious Sydney councils are jacking up rates to inordinate levels in order to pay for the rules and regulations they impose that treat us all like children.
Take North Sydney Council, where rates are set to rise by up by 40 per cent over the next five years.
That’s to pay for virtue signalling stunts such as an $80,000 campaign against local businesses using plastic bags and, if the nanny state advocates have their way, a blanket ban on cigarette smoking throughout the North Sydney CBD by the beginning of next year.
The fatwa is expected to be extended to e-cigarettes, notwithstanding the complete absence of any adverse public amenity.
Today’s e-cigarettes are mostly odourless, there are no harmful effects from second-hand vapour and there’s no debris from ash or butts.
But what the heck; if someone is trying to kick the tobacco habit, North Sydney Council knows best how not to do it.
Not content with controlling people’s behaviour on their streets, uppity councillors are also aiming to tell you what you can do in your own home.
Not only has North Sydney Council banned residents from short-term leasing schemes such as Airbnb and Stayz, on its website it actively encourages people to dob in their neighbours if they suspect such abominable activities are taking place.
And the assault on property rights doesn’t end there. Council looks favourably on residents seeking to slap heritage orders on their neighbours’ houses, to stymie redevelopment.
Am I picking on North Sydney Council? Perhaps.
But just as all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way, I suspect all Sydney councils are busybodies in their own busybody ways.
In the many fine parks the City of Sydney has to offer, for example, a picnicking family with five or more participants needs a permit from council if they want to kick a ball around after lunch or set up stumps. I kid you not.
And in case you’re wondering why all those bike paths that Clover Moore built remain curiously empty, the decree that riders must always wear a helmet because nanny-knows-best might have something to do with it.
The Liberal Democrats’ Clinton Mead speaks witheringly of his time as councillor and mayor of Campbelltown City Council, and proudly of having thwarted his fellow councillors’ attempt to ban full-strength beer at the local stadium.
A Campbelltown local who came up with a winning recipe for protein bars and wanted to start an online business from his home found about all the red tape the hard way.
Protein bar production may not commence until the manufacturer procures an industrial kitchen, Council informed the budding culinary entrepreneur. As if.
The next time Sydney holds local government elections, voters should beware of electing uppity councillors.
They will hone in on your few remaining freedoms and slap by-laws, licences, permit fees and ordinances on them.
They will take wads of your hard-earned cash in rates and wrap it up in a big fat roll of red tape. And then tell you what a great job they’re doing.
David Leyonhjelm is a senator for the Liberal Democrats
This article first appeared in The Daily Telegraph.