I was elected to do politics differently — to take important discussions out from behind party room doors, so that we, the people, would have more of a say in the decisions made within Parliament House.
On Sunday, we did exactly that, with the North Sydney Community Housing Forum bringing together a group of 30 randomly selected, ordinary citizens to discuss ways to address the housing crisis.
This was our first major exercise in deliberative democracy, which has been used in other jurisdictions to investigate big issues like abortion rights, euthanasia and nuclear waste storage. Because participants are asked to come to a consensus, deliberative democracy theoretically produces more well-rounded decisions that the community can get behind, as opposed to an aggregate of personal preferences.
Our topic of housing affordability is clearly a very complex problem, but North Sydney was certainly up to the task. Forum participants heard from 6 housing policy experts and reviewed ideas from more than 60 public submissions ranging from urban planning and infrastructure to tax reform, social security, immigration and foreign ownership.
After an intense 7 hours of deliberation, participants agreed on the idea of using federal infrastructure funding to incentivise more medium-density, diverse and affordable housing around public transport hubs. I was absolutely blown away by the work that went into this recommendation and am looking forward to developing this further with my team, and eventually taking it to Canberra for consideration.
ELECTORAL BOUNDARY SHIFTS
Our electorate of North Sydney has existed since Federation and at its core is a strong community of interest established around the spine of the north shore rail line.
As you may be aware the federal divisions of NSW will be subject to a boundary redistribution ahead of the next election, which will abolish one seat and increase the number of voters in each electorate from 118,000 to 129,000.
Unsurprisingly, the submissions of the two major parties are driven by political self-interest that looks to carve up North Sydney into Bennelong, Bradfield and Warringah. Instead, I am arguing to preserve our community of North Sydney, taking in some modest growth to incorporate the full Willoughby and North Sydney LGA’s.
You can read my submission here, and if you want to have your say in this process you can make your own submission before November 10.
Thank you as always for the privilege of representing our community. All that I do is shaped by your feedback so please keep those emails coming!