Councillors must listen to the people

THE federal government and Prime Minister Tony Abbott have shown us this week just what happens when you abuse your power and attempt to subvert the democratic process.

It is a lesson Camden Council would do well to pay attention to.

Forget all the back room deals and desperate pushes for power — the one and only thing that can get a politician at any level into power is votes.

Votes come from the people they represent — they giveth power and they can taketh away.

This is not to suggest politicians should pander to every whim of the electorate: that is neither desirable nor practical.

But all politicians need to be in tune with the electorate, especially in local government.

Look at what happens on a federal level when time after time the government and its members show themselves to be hopelessly out of touch with the average Australian.

Camden councillors would be well advised to ensure they do not fall into the same trap.

Should it matter that there may be 250 residents as opposed to 1000 so violently opposed to a council policy that they head out on a Sunday to protest?

This is such a rare sight in Camden that it should sound alarm bells for Camden's councillors.

These people feel like they have not been heard.

Yes, the council spent eight weeks speaking to people about the proposed changes to the Camden CBD.

But does this mean the council has shut its ears completely, even when hundreds of people come out afterwards with such a huge outpouring of emotion and energy?

Do Camden's councillors believe they are so all-powerful that several hundred or more of the residents whom they supposedly represent are mere speed bumps in the road?

Is simply listening to disaffected residents really so difficult for community representatives? So it seems.