Sydney council aggro a reminder of why strata brawls are so fierce
Michael Teys Blog
13 September 2016

Clover Moore said voters had told her they were angry at the Baird government and the Shooters, Fisher and Farmers party for changed the voting rules to give businesses two votes in the City of Sydney.  Photograph: Don Arnold/WireImage

There seems to be an inverse correlation developing between the powers of government and the emotions of voters.

Last weekend’s Sydney city local government elections serves the point. The independent Clover Moore and her team belted the Liberals to win a record fourth term for her as Mayor. The main reason seems to have been a backlash at attempts by the Liberal state government to interfere in local politics. In the lead up to the election there were very acrimonious fights about the amalgamation of various councils and the right of businesses to vote in the elections, a move thought to favour the Liberals. In the end it did exactly the opposite.

The powers of local government are relatively insignificant compared to the powers of the state and federal government yet when messed with locals react angrily. There were fist fights last weekend at polling booths.

It must be something to do with territory. The closer the decisions are to home, the greater the emotional response is to the perceived violation of property rights.

When this theory is applied to the so-called ‘fourth tier’ of government, an owners corporation, it explains much about the often challenging behaviour strata committees and managers must deal with day-to-day.

With this in mind, changes to strata laws will likely achieve little in terms of reducing communal living conflict. Turf wars have been going on since the beginning of time and this is not about to change with the stroke of the Parliament’s pen.

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