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Clover Moore labels voting changes 'undemocratic'

The Lord Mayor of Sydney dismisses a bill proposing compulsory business voting, introduced by Shooters and Fishers Party MP Robert Borsak, for 'undermining our very principles of democracy'.

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Broadcaster Alan Jones convinced the Baird government to back moves to overhaul business voting rights in the City of Sydney, the Shooters and Fishers Party says, prompting Lord Mayor Clover Moore to ask, “Who is running NSW?”

The government is supporting a Shooters and Fishers Party bill that would force thousands of businesses to vote in City of Sydney elections, potentially boosting the conservative vote and undermining Cr Moore and her progressive agenda.

Introducing the bill to the NSW upper house on Thursday, Shooters MP Robert Borsak thanked 2GB talk back host Alan Jones “who has been a driving force for this change”, adding that “without his assistance, I doubt that the government would have been persuaded to support” the bill.

"Who is running NSW?": Alan Jones has been thanked by Shooters Party MP Robert Borsak for his support of a bill forcing businesses to vote.

"Who is running NSW?": Alan Jones has been thanked by Shooters Party MP Robert Borsak for his support of a bill forcing businesses to vote.

He also thanked The Daily Telegraph for its support.

Cr Moore said the remarks confirmed the legislation was “driven by vested interests, right-wing media and shock jocks”.

“[Mr Borsak] said the NSW Government wouldn’t have supported his bill without Alan Jones at 2GB driving for change and without the support of The Daily Telegraph,” Cr Moore said.

Shooters MP Robert Borsak: He described Alan Jones as "a driving force".

Shooters MP Robert Borsak: He described Alan Jones as "a driving force".

“The community needs to ask, just who is running NSW?”

She accused the government and the Shooters Party of “working together to manipulate democracy and to dilute the voting rights of NSW residents”.

The Daily Telegraph and 2GB have been highly critical of Cr Moore, particularly her support for bike paths in central Sydney, and have campaigned for greater business voting rights.

Jones, a fierce critic of the Lord Mayor, fronted a "No More Clover" rally in the week before the 2012 local government elections to urge voters to remove Cr Moore from office.

Jones told the crowd of about 40 people that the event’s low turnout was by no means a "measure of the anger that exists in this city".

Some observers have questioned why the Shooters Party, with its traditional support base in regional NSW, was now turning its attention to the City of Sydney.

As a state government MP, Cr Moore often pushed for stronger gun controls, and in 2012 she opposed the hunting in national parks proposal.

It is understood that a post on the Shooters and Fishers Party Facebook page earlier this year, which has since been deleted, described Cr Moore as “one of the most gun-hating politicians anywhere in Australia.”

However Mr Borsak rejected suggestions the bill was an attempt at “payback”.

“We are a party that supports free enterprise and capitalism and a few other things like that … we are not a single-issue party,” he said.

Mr Borsak said he approached Mr Jones “and asked him would he support me in trying to get … a bit of publicity for my bill, and he said 'most definitely' ”.

Asked to respond to Mr Borsak's comments to Parliament, Mr Baird said: “The government supports these important reforms that give business people a voice in the city that they work and pay rates in."

Mr Jones did not respond to request for comment.

Cr Moore rejected claims by Liberal councillor Edward Mandla that she was preventing businesses from voting, saying the NSW Electoral Commission runs the voting regime.