This week our podcast is given over to an extended chat with NSW Independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich.
I’ve come across many politicians in this game. Most have been honest and decent (to a point) and a few have been self-interested and not so much corrupt as corrupted – mainly by party allegiance and personal ambition.
But it’s very rare to come across someone who is as clear-sighted, committed and empathic as Alex.
Locally, he’s known as the man who took over from Clover Moore when she was forced to chose between being Mayor of Sydney and the city’s MP in the NSW parliament.
That he won the by-election comfortably was no surprise but he then increased his majority at the next state election, despite having a chunk of traditionally Liberal voters grafted on to his constituency.
Nationally, he was the face of the same-sex marriage campaign while appearing on the SBS TV series Filthy Rich and Homeless. And as soon as the next state election campaign is done and dusted, he will take up cudgels for the voluntary euthanasia movement.
Will all that on his plate, as well as being an active constituency MP, we were very lucky to get an hour of his time to talk about the things that matter to us here at Flat Chat.
Why him? Becasue his constituency has more high-rise apartments than any other in Australia. So this podcast is the first of two parts in which we discuss the strata issues of the day – Airbnb, cladding, defects … and pets.
The highlight of the chat, for me, was his description of how a last-minute push by the Owners Corporation Network (and a few like-minded souls) alerted MPs in constituencies with large numbers of apartment blocks that they were about to be effectively handed over to Airbnb and other online letting agencies to be used for holiday lets, regardless of the devastating effects of strata communities.
His description of the corridors of Parliament full of MPs asking each other what was going on and the last minute U-Turn by our Planning and Better Regulation Ministers makes our latest Flat Chat Wrap podcast worth a listen in itself.