Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Greens slam Liberal ploy for rail cut

Newcastle Greens
19 November 2008

Newcastle Greens councillor Michael Osborne today condemned an attempt by the Liberal Party at last night’s Newcastle City Council meeting to push through a decision to support cutting the Newcastle rail line.

Liberal councillor Brad Luke last night moved, without notice, that the council adopt his motion to support cutting the city’s rail line. Cr Luke defended the lack of notice for his proposal on the grounds of urgency, but his attempt to use the urgency provisions was rejected 8 votes to 5.

“Fortunately, even a number of the councillors who support cutting the rail line could see that this was an outrageous abuse of process by Cr Luke,” Cr Osborne said.

Urgency provision are designed to allow councillors to introduce business without notice in matters that are genuinely urgent, not to allow something to be rushed through without due consideration,” Cr Osborne said.

“Cr Luke’s actions reflect poorly on his own judgement and sense of due process, especially after he himself had objected to a recent controversial Lord Mayoral minute on graffiti that was put before councillors without proper notice.

“Unfortunately, Cr Luke’s actions are part of a general trend among some of the city’s anti-rail advocates to try to ram through a decision to cut the rail line before people have had the opportunity to properly consider all the arguments.

“This indecent rush for a hasty, pre-emptive strike on the new proposal to cut the rail line at Wickham raises serious questions about the anti-rail lobby’s agenda. Why are they attempting to sneak this through without proper debate? What are they afraid of? What are they trying to hide?

“Now that he can give this matter more thought, Cr Luke might begin by considering the results of a recent survey of rail users by his own group (the Hunter Liberals) that found overwhelming support for keeping the rail line,” Cr Osborne said.

“Decisions such as this need to be made with the best interests of the whole Newcastle community in mind, not sneaked through without notice to serve vested interests, however much the Liberals might want to court them.”

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