Australian councils urged to refund taxpayers after spending big on Voice Yes campaigns
Chris O’Keefe has backed calls for councils to reimburse ratepayers after spending thousands of dollars promoting the Voice referendum.
The 2GB host made an extraordinary appeal on Monday, denouncing the use of taxpayers’ money to support the Yes campaign in the run-up to The Voice.
City councils across the country have set aside funds, with the City of Sydney among the biggest contributors after setting aside $500,000 for the cause.
This huge spending occurred despite all six Australian states voting no in the referendum, with most voters turning against the referendum.
O’Keefe accused councils of overstepping the mark.
Sydney radio station 2GB afternoon host Chris O’Keefe has called on councils to refund the rates they spent on bringing the Indigenous voice to Parliament.
“Local councils have absolutely nowhere to spend taxpayers’ money on social causes,” he said, saying they should stick to “rates, roads and waste”.
“All should provide discounts on rate notices from the next quarter.”
A listener’s suggestion that the councils that pushed the Voice should offer some sort of refund or rate reduction was enthusiastically endorsed by O’Keefe.
“All those who wasted their taxpayers’ money to defend a cause that had nothing to do with them also failed to ask those taxpayers if they agreed to defend the Yes case,” did he declare.
O’Keefe cited the particular example of Lane Cove Council, on Sydney’s North Shore, which he said spent “thousands and thousands” on the Yes case “without ever asking their ratepayers if it ‘was OK’.
‘And guess what?’ » asked O’Keefe.
“Of the 10,000 voters in Lane Cove, almost half (45%) voted no.”
Randwick Council, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, announced in June it was allocating almost $29,000 to support the Yes case.
Labor councilor Linda Scott said the decision represented “the view of our community”, although this was not only reflected in a narrow Yes victory with 55 per cent of residents voting in favor of The Voice.
Orange City Council in central-west New South Wales had supported Yes since December last year, but once again appeared out of step with its ratepayers, with 16,000 people voting No in the city, compared to just 7,000 supporting Voice.
City councils across Australia have spent millions of public funds to support the Indigenous voice in Parliament.
Despite lavish spending by local authorities, the Yes campaign failed at the polls on Saturday.
The City of Sydney and its Mayor Clover Moore spent half a million dollars of taxpayers’ money to support the Yes vote.
“It didn’t move things at all because a yes vote in Surry Hills means nothing (in deciding) whether a referendum will go through,” O’Keefe said.
The package included $260,000 for a communications and engagement campaign, $160,000 for banners and up to $90,000 to support community events at iconic council locations such as town hall.
In August, it was revealed the council had also offered Yes supporters $25,000 worth of free office space in the city’s CBD to help with their campaign.
The Yes23 team has established operations in prime CBD real estate in the form of City Hall on Kent Street for three months as part of the deal with the council.
Melbourne City Council has also pledged resources to support the Yes case, as has Merri-Bek City Council in the north, which invested $22,000 to host forums, provide grants and display advertising. promotional material in support of The Voice.
Fremantle in WA has allocated $35,500 to be spent on Voice