Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rocket Science

One to watch:

"After the furore surrounding Marrickville Council's boycott on Israel this year, North Sydney Council is pushing for a state government ban on local councils adopting sanctions against any nation. The controversial motion is up for a vote at the New South Wales annual local government conference, which starts tomorrow in Shoalhaven. The North Sydney mayor and president of the Local Government Association, Cr Genia McCaffery, said she was in two minds about the proposal but has backed it because dictating foreign policy was not the proper role of councils. 'A trade sanction is something that is not the responsibility of the local government and we need to have proper recognition of what our responsiblities are', Cr Mc Caffery said. 'With that responsibility comes specialised knowledge and expertise. It's really not appropriate for a council to be involved in that kind of action'." (Move to ban councils from imposing foreign boycotts, Kelsey Munro, Sydney Morning Herald, 22/10/11)

So BDS is rocket science and should be left to rocket scientists such as... Rudd and Gillard?

But that isn't quite the tune Ms McCaffery was singing back in April at the:

"Local government is more than roads, rates and rubbish. But it's not about Middle East meddling and international diplomacy, one Sydney mayor and president of the local government alliance insists. 'Foreign policy is clearly a federal responsibility', said Genia McCaffery, the North Sydney mayor and president of the Australian Local Government Association. 'We've got more than enough work to do without intervening'... McCaffery, an independent among an almost entirely non-partisan council, says she's 'sympathetic' to the Palestinian cause - but Marrickville Council went too far. It's jeopardised her push for long-argued-for constitutional recognition for local government, which she says is important to better manage the flow of funding from state and governments. 'If we start to do things like this that undermines what we're doing', she said." (Roads, rates, rubbish... foreign policy? Recreating local government, Jason Whittaker,, 7/4/11)

Now won't it be interesting to see how the conference votes on this issue? Could the following piece of information possibly act as a guide:

"120 mayors and councillors from across NSW gathered at a unique Passover dinner this week. Local Government Minister Barbara Perry was guest of honour at the unprecedented event, held in Randwick Town Hall on April 1 [2009]. Organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Local Government Passover Dinner included the mayors of North Sydney, Ryde, Kogarah, Gosford, Shoalhaven, Liverpool, Leichardt, Waverley, Randwick, Woollahra and Botany Bay." (Municpal Pesach,, 3/4/09)

PS: "Another contentious debate was a motion from North Sydney Council that councils be prohibited from implementing trade sanctions against foreign states - a reference to Marrickville's short-lived ban on trade with Israel. Shoalhaven's Gareth Ward, also a Liberal MP, caused a spot of uproar when he said the ban had been racially motivated. The motion was carried by the narrowist of margins - 105 to 103." (Carbon tax dominates conference, Harvey Grennan, Sydney Morning Herald, 1/11/11)

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