Thank you for your recent coverage on the question of a popular elected mayor and Councillor Kathryn Bell's motion to have a constitutional referendum about it.
In my submission to MidCoast Council I pointed out that, in October 2015, a committee of the NSW Legislative Council published its report about Local Government in NSW and one of its recommendations - Recommendation 13 - was "That the Minister for Local Government encourage local councils with council-elected mayors to initiate a referendum on whether the mayor should be popularly elected or elected by councillors".
I do not know whether the Minister for Local Government did write to all such councils at the time, or since then, but it is a fact that this recommendation had the support of six of the seven members of the Standing Committee - the two from the Liberal Party, the National Party member, the Christian Democratic Party member and the two from the Labor Party with only the Greens member on that committee not in support.
The recommendation was moved by a Liberal member, Catherine Cusack MLC, and the Labor support for it included Peter Primrose MLC who was, at that time, Shadow Minister for Local Government.
I am quite nonplussed to see those of our councillors who were elected on a political party ticket (the Liberal councillor Troy Fowler and the Labor councillors, David Keegan and Claire Pontin) voting against giving citizens an opportunity to choose how the mayor should be elected because it is a demonstration of bi-partisanship so bizarrely opposite to how it was demonstrated in the parliamentary committee!