Now the Green Mayor of Marrickville’s boycott of Israel will cost ratepayers almost $4 million.
A council business paper to be tabled next week shows a hit list of a dozen international companies has been drawn up to either be banned from doing business with council or have their existing contracts cancelled.
They include Hewlett Packard, Chevrolet (Holden), Volvo, Unilever, Motorola ReadyMix and Fulton Hogan concrete companies, which the council claims either “support Israel’s military occupation of Palestine or profit from it”. A further 1800 companies would be banned from future dealings with the council, a list the council admits was downloaded from a pro-Palestinian website.
The council will vote next Monday on whether the boycott, passed in December last year, will include ripping up all current contracts and services and disposing of equipment or be confined to future dealings.
A financial impact statement attached to the council business papers reveals it will have to spend $3 million alone to replace the council’s Hewlett Packard computer hardware and software systems.
It would also need to replace its record management system (operated by Trim) at a cost of $200,000.
The cost of replacing its Motorola hardware equipment has been estimated at $150,000 and a further $250,000 in penalties would apply for cancelling concrete and road paving contracts.
The council is even considering banning the dumping of waste in the local tip because the waste services of the Southern Regional Organisation of Councils is run by Veolia and SITA, which the council presumably also believes profits from what it describes as Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Ms Byrne’s council voted on a Greens sponsored resolution in December 2010 to join the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which was started by 171 Palestinian non-government organisations and unions in 2005. It then asked for a council report on how to implement it.
The four Labor councillors on Marrickville will seek to get the support of three independents to beat the five Greens and kill the policy.
“The council should keep to what it was elected to do, take care of the interests of its ratepayers and not take sides in a foreign conflict,” NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Yair Miller said.
Ms Byrne did not return The Daily Telegraph’s calls yesterday.
This morning she said in a statement she will not support all the recommendations.
“The purpose of a report is to give council options. As mayor I will not be lending my support to this full suite of options proposed by staff,” her statement said.
“Marrickville Council’s longstanding boycott of Burma contains provisions ensuring that ratepayers are not financially disadvantaged.
“That is the form of Israel boycott I will be supporting.”
Marrickville councillor Marika Kontellis added: “There was never an intention that the council’s boycott for Palestine motion (would) financially disadvantage the people of Marrickville, and no councillor I have spoken to has that intent.
“Marrickville Council can continue to promote the human rights of Palestinians without being a
cost burden on local communities.”
The BDS movement was started in 2005 in protest over alleged oppression of Palestinians.
The BDS website claims that Hewlett Packard technology is used at Israeli milita.
Needless to say, Marrickville residents are fuming.
Meanwhile, this is an opportunity to bring back an old friend: