Occupy Sydney eviction a crass politcal move

Last night Council voted to have the police throw a group of mostly homeless people out of a part of the City because they had become a ‘blight’.

Occupy protest

Protestors outside Town Hall opposing the eviction

The Occupy Sydney group have been maintaining a presence in Martin Place for around 18 months and over that time what started as a protest against social inequality has morphed into a community outreach program, where homeless and poor people gather food and resources and distribute them to those in need, as well as providing invaluable social support to each other.  However following a press release from a Liberal candidate for the upcoming Federal election which labelled the Occupy site as a ‘shanty town’ and it’s participants ‘a blight on Sydney’ Liberal Councillors Christine Forster joined the hysteria and moved a motion to have them thrown out by the police.

Sadly, despite Occupiers engaging in a creative protest that showed their generosity – hosting a free barbecue for passersby outside Town Hall – the motion was supported by everyone except for myself and Labor Councillor Linda Scott.

I found the elitist attitude behind this move, which the Liberals involved tried to score political points off by making tenuous links with “this dysfunctional Labor government” (who have no authority to intervene in what is a Council matter), absolutely disgusting.  The Occupy protestors cause no harm to anyone – they’ve kept the site tidy, even cleaning up after people who make a mess when they emerge drunk from the ritzy bars nearby, and have a rule of not approaching people who don’t approach them first.

Occupy has been a presence for good in our City in the time they’ve been in Martin Place.  They’ve helped people who wanted help and left everyone else to their own devices while serving as a subtle reminder that problems of inequality are sadly still rife in modern day Australia.  Once they’re evicted, and the Liberals political interests served, I think they will be sorely missed.

The speech I gave to Council on the matter can be found here.

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8 responses to “Occupy Sydney eviction a crass politcal move

  1. Pingback: Contribution to 2UE’s discussion on the Occupy Sydney eviction. | psychoskeptika

  2. Thanks for your support Cr Doutney. Your speeches are always much more inspiring than most or all the talk at every level of Australian government.

    As part of a conversation on the mooted eviction on Sydney radio station 2UE and their associated webpage (you can imagine the typical opinion), I posted some thoughts here:
    http://psychoskeptika.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/contribution-to-2ues-discussion-on-the-occupy-sydney-eviction/

  3. Dear Ms. Doutney
    This is one of the most disgusting things I have heard. This man has the heart of a lion. He gives selflessly to the homeless 24/7, self funded and lives amongst them to serve them better. I have never known of anyone who has done that. My 12yr old daughter and I recently held a Sleepout 4 the Homeless, to which this man volunteered himself. He arrived with 2 BBQ’s from Sydney to Kibble Park, Gosford, cooked all night, forraged for cardboard to put down on the soggy ground for us novices, and knew all the right things to do to keep us safe and functioning. He then slept beside the bbq’s to keep them safe, as this was his method for feeding the homeless in Martin Place. Now the crass Abbott sister wants to evict him…and the reason..he is obstructing cleansing???????? Are you serious????
    Irene Doutney, we cannot allow this to happen. What will become of these invisible people??? People society have forgotten, people no one cares about…except Occupy Sydney. He should be being honoured with a medal and awards, not condemned and moved on as an eyesore. This is inhumane, indecent and all that’s wrong with this world!
    There are hundreds more like me who admire this man for his dedication and commitment to fixing this problem with our people.
    Have we become so cruel???
    Kind Regards
    Kaz Field-Anderson
    Central Coast

  4. Irene, I want you to know that your attitude and your vote mean something to real, caring Australians. Those who so cynically and so coldly used a generous, genuine social outreach, supporting homeless people, as a political platform to throw mud at another party, are just disgusting. The worst kind of elitist blindness to a very real issue in our society. We all work to create this society we live in, and we should all strive to be more careful about how we treat those who struggle the most. Feed the poor. Care for the needy. I don’t care what religion we ascribe to or which political party we support, good people are what’s needed. Please, let more of us walk in the mighty shoes of the ‘Occupiers’.

  5. Mrs Colleen Fuller

    Sadly people unless you have gone to Occupy Sydney for help will have no clue what they do. I for one am not homeless I live on the Central Coast. For almost 5 years I have been down in the city attending District Court and Supreme Courts almost on a weekly basis, Fighting a very corrupt department DoCs. Occupy Sydney started a group called DoCs Busters and have been helping many like myself to fight this corrupt Department that are stealling innocent children from loveing families. Lance one of the main stays at Occupy Sydney sat in the Libary with me for many hours helping me look up case Law etc somthing I had no clue about. Occupy Sydney is far from being a shanty town. It is an information Booth for locals and visitors from other countries. I have seen The people of Occupy help many people showing them where to go. The Majority who man Occupy are not homeless. I know of 3 who live on the central coast who go and man the site during the day. I have helped and I’m not homless There are many others who work in offices and live in outer areas that take turns in manning the site. There is a church group from Campbelltown that comes in the morning and evening to feed not just the homless but people who are in the city till late.Occupy Sydney also supports many other groups and not just in Sydney. Irene thank you for standing up for Occupy But maybe you should make yourself more aware of what Occupy Sydney is about it is not just there for the homless and they do a lot of things that our governments and Councils refuse to do. Occupy Sydney has given me the strength to Fight DoCs for the return of my Grandson to his innocent loving family even though Legal aid wont fund us and no member of either Governments will listen to our crys for help. Lance has given his shoulder for me to cry on and asks for nothing in return.

  6. Pingback: Eviction of Occupy Sydney marked by brutality | Councillor Irene Doutney

  7. Debra Bentley

    Thank you Cr Doutney and Linda Scott for your most welcome understanding and support for Occupy Sydney and what they do to assist those in need from all walks of life, not just the homeless. Our society is judged on how we treat the most vulnerable and if the way City of Sydney Council enacts this attitude is a reflection of our society, then GOD help us all. Occupy Sydney fulfills a desperate need that is sadly lacking in our City and in fact we need more like this in permanent positions throughout the State to cater for these people that an affluent society would prefer did not exist.
    NSW Police have reported a reduction in petty crime in the city as a direct result of Occupy Sydney being there to provide what would otherwise not be available unless those desperate for food committed petty crimes to survive. Once again this shows the positive side of Occupy Sydney’s presence which makes it safer for others.
    One has to question why City of Sydney Council is so desperate to have Occupy Sydney removed and abolish the services that are so desperately required? I believe it is more than political grandstanding; I believe it is also motivated by greed; greed for donations from a caring public that lines their pockets but provides very little in reality. We must consider the possibility.
    I would appreciate any support you can give to this becoming a reality as it has been clearly shown there is a desperate need for this type of service.

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