BEING told by Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis he had no right to express an opinion on federal matters reeked of a “totalitarian” regime, according to Cr Andrew Guile.
Cr Guile was responding to a sharp rebuke from Mrs Sudmalis, furious at his suggestion on 2ST’s Three Way Turf Talk program on Friday that welfare recipients be drug tested.
Ringing in on the program’s talkback line, the federal MP said the “would-be Member for Gilmore” had no right to make the suggestion as a councillor.
“This is a ridiculous criticism that ignores the reality of local government representation and worse still, reeks of the sort of communications control exercised by totalitarian regimes,” Cr Guile responded.
“One of the key roles of any elected councillor is to represent the needs of local people and their community, be they social, economic or just about anything else.
“The policy role over the organisation might be centred on roads, rates and rubbish but even under the Local Government Act 1993, there are many more factors of which we take account.
“Many of these policy issues intersect with federal and state matters. Politics is like that and to suggest that there is some sort of demarcation suggests a lack of understanding,” he said.
“The Shoalhaven is facing some real pressures on families in terms of both their economic circumstances and their social conditions.
“Every community leader of any standing should feel free to bring forward ideas and discuss the options for addressing these very real concerns.”
Mrs Sudmalis said Cr Guile’s drug-testing suggestion unfairly stereotyped welfare recipients as drug users.