Sydney councillor: I left my heartland for San Francisco
Prime Minister Julia Gillard was in Singapore yesterday. She got a flower named after her. She fell in love with the place. \
As a matter of fact, she loved it so much that she decided that she might as well move there. Just for the next few months, anyway.
Why wouldn’t you? The shopping is great. It’s clean. There’s a restaurant precinct where you can find almost any national cuisine you could think of. And besides, with Blackberries and Skype and the internet and social media these days, she could easily do her job just as well from the south-east Asian city-state.
If Tupac can perform from the grave in hologram form at Coachella, I’m sure the PM could easily hologram into Question Time from one of our close Asian neighbours. And if President Obama can command the entire US military from Air Force One unhindered, surely Julia Gillard could safeguard Australia’s national security from the Singapore Shangri-La.
If Julia Gillard actually did that, she wouldn’t just be following the lead of the US President. The Deputy Mayor of Sydney’s Mosman Council, Belinda Halloran, has said that she’ll be able to complete her term in office despite moving to San Francisco this week.
“There are many ways to still continue doing a role in some form of capacity via email, Skype and phone,’’ Halloran told The Daily Telegraph. “This is not unusual in today’s work place.”
“It’s is only a short term request till a new council is elected in September and a balanced representation of our community is met,” Halloran said.
She’s been asked to be granted leave for a couple of months to settle into the City of Streetcars and she’d complete the rest of the job online until September. She says she initially tried to resign but decided against it since she wouldn’t be replaced on the council until the elections.
Now, Deputy Mayor Halloran doesn’t have the national security responsibilities of the prime minister. But she still has responsibilities.
Local councillors are meant to live and breathe the local community. They’re meant to know where the potholes are and keep abreast of neighbourly disputes.
If you’re going to be away for more than third of the year you’re just going to lose touch, no matter how many emails you send or late-night Skype sessions you organise.
If you worked an office job and just worked from home the whole time, keeping up on emails but not going into the office, you’d find you would miss out on things. It’s the same in this situation.
Halloran admits that she wouldn’t be able to represent her constituents “to the same standard”. She wants to stay on the council to keep the under-40s voice represented. But could she really add that much? Especially if she might be taking two months off.
If I was living in Mosman Council and the garbos didn’t empty my gold-plated bin, I’d go knock on my local councillor’s door to complain about it. I wouldn’t be relying on lining up a Skype date with my Deputy Mayor. Those things are so bloody hard to arrange anyway.
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