Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Brown Peril

During the 1950s political parties distributed posters warning of the threat from the north. These posters showed a yellow arrow targeting Australia from south-east Asia. They were never published and have disappeared from records - in today's political parlance they would be described as white-only ops. The term that arose was "The Yellow Peril" and was embedded sufficiently in the Australian psyche for it to be used to describe a sculpture by a New South Wales sculptor that won a commission for an art piece for Melbourne Square in 1980.

The sculpture has since been moved to a number of different sites in Melbourne. The art piece that attracted equivalent derision in Sydney would be the "poo on a stick" sculpture privately commissioned for the forecourt of the apartment tower over the Kings Cross Tunnel.

Vault sculpture aka The Yellow Peril
I was recruited by my dad to put Liberal Party pamphlets in letter boxes during the 1949 federal election - I had just started primary school. The big issue at this election was nationalisation of the banks which had been ruled as invalid by the High Court but upheld by the Privy Council in England. Over the past week various Liberal Party elders have drawn contrasts between the present day party and the party of Sir Robert Menzies. My family was staunchly Liberal and would agree.
The Party of Menzies has become a party of sloganeering

We will stop the boats
We will turn round the boats

We will stop the buses turning around

The threat from the north in New South Wales

The main threat to residents south of the Harbour has always been closer to home. Forty five years ago suburbs in the inner Eastern Suburbs, South Sydney and the Inner West faced wholesale devastation by radial motorways passing through Darling Harbour. Green bans by the Builders' Labourers Federation run by Jack Mundey was all that staved off what is now recognised as an unqualified disaster for Sydney. The North-Shore based government of Bob Askin was pressing ahead with the plans at any cost but was defeated in a cliff-hanger election by Neville Wran.

Now the North Shore rump of the Liberal Party is back in power following a fraudulently-funded election and the inner Sydney suburbs are under threat again.

The Brown Peril
This time they are being more surreptitious. Crown stated that they wanted to build a casino for high rollers only at Barangaroo. When approval was given there was no commitment to restrict the access of local punters. Now Sydney City Council is outraged on learning of unpublished plans that more than double the floor space available to the developers of properties in this area over what had been approved. The developers are not being asked for any quid pro quo for the financial advantage they will be receiving. They could hardly be asked to contribute to the provision of public transport to the area since there are no such plans, other than to terminate buses, god knows how, at Walsh Bay.

In order to reach destinations in Barangaroo passengers on bus services from Parramatta Road and City Road will be dumped in Pitt Street and forced to catch a tram or train to Town Hall or Wynyard then to transfer back to a bus for the rest of the journey - an expensive three-trip journey. There was no disclosure of this when the brochure of Sydney's light rail future was released.

Dec 13 2012 brochure
The yellow dotted line purported to show a western CBD/ Barangaroo transport corridor, ominously passing through Paddys Market, connecting to Harris street and Broadway. The changes in the bus routes in the CBD that eventuated in the EIS were distressingly predictable: bus services from the North Shore and the Northern Beaches are taking over the Castlereagh Street/Elizabeth Street routes and have access to the growth area in Barangaroo from Wynyard. Bus services from the Eastern Suburbs and the inner west are stuffed.

Which brings us to the Brown Peril. The current politicians from the North Shore are the most duplicitous to emerge from the rump of the Liberal Party, ever. Turds that are difficult to flush away are not yellow so it would be more appropriate to describe the peril from the north as brown.

Demonstrating at Parliament House

The upper house voted today, May 8, on a motion from the shadow transport minister Penny Sharpe calling for disclosure of documents of the Business Case for the CBD South East Suburbs Light Rail. These motions are very rare in Parliament but this was the second one this year. The motion passed with a majority of two. The government has 28 days to make the papers available.

I took part in a demonstration in front of Parliament House attended by people from Surry Hills and Kensington in support of more disclosure of the Project.

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