From Manly Daily 24th Jan
ACTIVISTS from across NSW have threatened to “turn Manly into Orange” and rally against the Liberal Party at the by-election for Mike Baird’s vacant seat if controversial forced council mergers are not reversed.
Phil Jenkyn, spokesman for the Save Our Councils Coalition said the Liberal Party would have “a bloody battle” on its hands to reclaim the former premier’s seat if forcefully merged councils remained.
“I can predict now that Manly will fall to an independent,” he said. “I have no doubt the only thing that can stop the destruction of the Liberal Party is if she (Ms Berejiklian) undoes this hated and despised forced amalgamation.”
It comes as former Manly and Pittwater councillors have called for a plebiscite to determine the best way forward.
Former Manly Councillor Hugh Burns has reignited a previous call for a poll of peninsula residents. And former Pittwater Councillor Alex McTaggart said the Government should go further and have a plebiscite on the issue in all former local government areas.
A public rally at Parliament House on Sunday saw groups from across NSW, including residents of the former Pittwater Council, call for a split.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has left the door ajar for a possible shift in policy.
“On council amalgamations and other issues, I am not going to rule anything in or out at this early stage,” she told the Manly Daily just hours after being sworn in.