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Sydney City Council’s claim of 5000 at a Voice Yes rally draws derision, shuts down comments on post


A council shut down public comment after coming under fire for claiming 5,000 people turned out for a Yes rally to support Indigenous Voice in Parliament when a photo appears to show a much smaller gathering.

Sydney City Council tweeted an image of Sunday’s demonstration in the city center suburb of Surry Hills with attendees gathering to form the word YES for an overhead shot.

“Thank you to the 5,000 people who flocked to Prince Alfred Park today to join us in Sydney for a Yes23 event,” the council tweeted on Sunday.

The claim that there were 5,000 people in the photo sparked immediate skepticism.

Daniel Lewkovitz, crowd safety expert and former Liberal Democrat candidate for the New South Wales upper house, owner Sydney-based security firm Calamity turned to technology to bring down the council figure.

This photo tweeted by Sydney City Council along with the claim that 5000 people were at the rally supporting the Yes vote for Indigenous Voice to Parliament sparked much skepticism online.

“Based on the known area of ​​that space and crowd modeling software, I estimate there are approximately 700 people in that photograph,” he tweeted.

Another Twitter user provided a similar estimate.

‘There are maybe 800 people there. Unless there is more behind the scenes? they tweeted.

5000 people? Lucky to have 500′, another person intervened.

On Monday, about 24 hours after the first tweet was posted, the Council announced that it had closed comments on the post and others supporting Voice.

Some accused the council of shutting down the debate.

“Hey Sydney Council if you don’t allow debate but try to shove this yes shit down our throats shove it where the sun don’t shine,” one person tweeted.

You are advice. Stop taking sides.

A council spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday that the comments had been closed because they were not “respectful” enough.

Sydney security expert and former state Liberal Democrat candidate Daniel Lewkovitz took to technology to dispute the figure.

Sydney security expert and former state Liberal Democrat candidate Daniel Lewkovitz took to technology to dispute the figure.

“The City of Sydney welcomes open discussion and respectful debate on its social media channels and we ask all users to treat each other with respect,” the spokesperson said.

“Recently, there has been no respectful discussion in our comments section and we have decided to disable comments on some posts, which is in line with our processes.”

The Daily Mail requested examples of the “disrespectful comments”, but the council refused to provide them.

The Council also defended its estimate of the crowd by saying the photo had been taken late in the process after most people had gone home.

“Event organizers estimated that a total of 5,000 people attended the event at Prince Alfred Park on Sunday,” the spokesperson said.

“The image and video of the ‘Yes’ group posted on our social media channels were taken after the official proceedings ended and did not capture everyone who attended the event.”

Several people questioned why the council was supporting the Yes case in the first place.

In legislating for the referendum, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese vowed not to spend public money promoting either side of the debate, except for pamphlets outlining the Yes and No cases.

“Is it just me or is it local statutory authorities (sic) like councils etc spending taxpayer funds on the voice that appears to be misappropriation,” one person tweeted.

‘Who gave these bodies the right to spend these funds on a vibe? Where is the responsibility?

Independent Mayor Clover Moore (pictured at a Sydney event in March) heads Sydney City Council

Independent Mayor Clover Moore (pictured at a Sydney event in March) heads Sydney City Council

Another Twitter user claimed that the Council, led by independent mayor Clover Moore, was spending an incredible amount on the campaign.

‘So true. They have no place in giving our money in the Voice. Sydney City Council alone is giving $500,000,’ the tweet read.

The council spokesman said supporting Voice was in line with long-term policies.

“The council resolved to support the Uluru Heart Declaration in 2018 and has resolved to support a yes vote in the next referendum,” they said.

‘While Council voted to support the City of Sydney’s communication and engagement activities in support of the ‘YES’ campaign, we respect all points of view and encourage people to make an informed decision on voting day.

Yes23 rallies were held across Australia on Sunday in an attempt to bolster support for Voice with recent polls indicating the proposal is sliding towards defeat.

The most recent Newspoll revealed that support for Voice fell to 43 per cent of overall voters with only two states, NSW and Victoria, continuing to vote yes.

The referendum, which will take place between October and December of this year, needs the mandate of the majority of the people and in the majority of the states to pass.

Sydney City Council has been contacted for comment.

What we know about Voice to Parliament so far

Here Daily Mail Australia takes a look at some of the key questions about Voice so far and how the government has addressed them:

What kind of advice can La Voz provide to Parliament and the Government?

La Voz will advise on matters directly related to indigenous peoples.

You will respond to requests made by the government while also having the power to proactively engage in matters that you believe affect them.

The group will have its own resources to research issues and engage with communities at the grassroots level to ensure it best reflects their needs.

How will the members of the Voice be chosen?

The members of the Voice will be appointed by the indigenous communities and will serve on the committee for a fixed period of time, yet to be determined.

The way in which the communities elect their representatives will be agreed by the local communities together with the government as part of a ‘post-referendum process’ to ensure cultural legitimacy.

Who can be a member of the committee?

Members of the Voice must be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

They will be elected from all states and territories and will have balanced gender representation at the national level.

The government has also guaranteed that youth will be included in the committee to ensure representation throughout the community.

Will the Voice be transparent?

The government claims Voice will be subject to scrutiny and reporting requirements to ensure it is held accountable and transparent.

The members of the voice will be subject to the standards of the National Anti-Corruption Commission and will be sanctioned or removed from the committee if there is any misconduct.

Will the Voice have veto power?


Will La Voz function independently of other government agencies?

The committee must respect the work and role of existing organizations, says the government.

Will the Voice handle any funds?

The Voice will not directly manage any money or provide any services to the community.

Their sole role will be to make representations about improving existing government programs and services, and to advise on new ideas emerging from the parties.

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