Labor link to group fighting carbon tax
Mayor candidate … Clover Moore is up against Living Sydney. Photo: Jim Rice
THE Labor Party's bid to get rid of Clover Moore has thrown it into bed with a party endorsed by an anti-carbon tax group that is today hosting a rally to be addressed by vehement Labor critic and broadcaster Alan Jones.
Labor has given its top preference to Living Sydney in an attempt to depose Sydney's lord mayor, Cr Moore, at next month's local government election. This is despite Living Sydney's links with a group called Consumers and Taxpayers Association (CATA), which has campaigned against the federal Labor government's carbon tax.
Jones is due to address today's ''No More Clover'' rally, which will express support for Living Sydney, backing the group's top candidate, the small business owner Angela Vithoulkas, as the best person to take over.
''CATA is supporting the Living Sydney team led by Angela Vithoulkas as the mayoral candidate,'' it says on its website.
Jones last year called for the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to be ''put into a chaff bag'' and thrown out to sea. He made a similar comment about Cr Moore this year.
The Labor candidate, Linda Scott, defended directing preferences to Living Sydney but refused to say who had decided to do the deal.
She sought to distance the Labor Party from the anti-carbon tax campaigners and today's event.
''Sydney Labor has nothing to do with this rally and will not be attending it and does not support the views of this group,'' she said.
''My understanding is that Living Sydney have asked for that endorsement [from CATA] to be withdrawn.''
But Living Sydney would not support that claim.
''I don't want to speak out about any group that has nothing to do with me,'' Ms Vithoulkas said.
''I think we're lucky we live in a democratic society and people have the right to … gather and voice their opinions.''
Ms Vithoulkas said she would not be attending today's rally, and she had heard about it only on Monday.
The association had endorsed Living Sydney without her knowledge, she said. ''I haven't had any contact with them, they have not spoken to me.''
But the association's rally organiser, Jacques Laxale, said he had had ''many discussions'' with Living Sydney's chairman and director, Barry and Katherine Goldman.
He said he had told them about plans for the rally supporting Living Sydney's campaign ''a few weeks ago''.
''I made a mention to them a few weeks ago about it, what I was planning to do, and they said: 'Yeah, that's fine.'''
Ms Vithoulkas refused to say whether or not she supported a carbon tax, which is strongly backed by Cr Moore.
''It's not a local government issue,'' she said.
But Ms Vithoulkas is campaigning on several policies the City of Sydney has no control over, including installing lifts at Redfern Station and imposing a compulsory bicycle registration scheme for all cyclists over 13 years of age. Both these areas fall under the state government.
Ms Scott said Labor had endorsed Living Sydney because they ''publicly said that they share Labor's values on a range of issues, including the environment and on social matters'', despite their refusal to express support for the carbon tax.
Cr Moore condemned the Labor Party for directing preferences to Living Sydney.
''Let's get real, this is a group aligned with and supported by Alan Jones and the Consumers and Taxpayers Association who are vehemently opposed to action on climate change and the federal Labor government's price on carbon,'' she said.
''People need to question why a group that runs a website called 'stopcarbonlies' would throw their support behind Living Sydney.
''We've all seen the sexist and threatening posters about our Prime Minister at their rallies, which is why I'm also astounded the Labor Party would support anyone associated with them.''