Selasa, 18 September 2012

Bye and thanks, Clover Moore

Tomorrow Clover Moore leaves the NSW Parliament, where she's represented tenants, marginal renters and other residents of inner-city Sydney as their independent Member for almost 25 years.


She's leaving reluctantly, because she's the newly re-elected Lord Mayor of Sydney and, under new laws – 'appalling, anti-democratic laws', in Clover's words – a person cannot hold both a seat in Parliament and a seat in local government.

We at the Brown Couch are sad to see her leave, too, because Clover's always been a voice in the Parliament for tenants and other renters. We've heard Clover recall an experience from early in her career in public service: walking along a Kings Cross street one night in the late 1980s, coming upon the distressing scene of a group of people being evicted – quite lawfully – by a boarding house landlord, and thinking that our laws and housing options need to be a lot better.

Over the years since then, Clover has sought to improve the State's renting laws through her own Private Members Bills – including, most recently, her Bill for occupancy agreements for marginal renters – and through thoughtful amendments and contributions to debates in relation to Government tenancy legislation. She also supported the refunding of the TU and the Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services by the minority Coalition Government in 1994, and her own mayoral salary trust funded Redfern Legal Centre's Boarders and Lodgers Legal Information Kit.

Landlords and boarding house operators have done well from her, too: the land tax exemption for inner-city boarding houses and low-cost rental premises is one of Clover's intiatives, which has helped keep these forms of housing viable for their owners and available for their low-income residents.

We know Clover will continue to work for tenants and other renters at the City of Sydney, where her abiding interest in housing has become an abiding interest of the Council too. But as she leaves Parliament we say: bye and thanks for all the work you've done for tenants and other renters throughout the State.