Let my people go

And Moses went in unto Pharaoh and said, ‘Let my people go’, and so political lobbying has been around for some time.

I wish these words were mine but they’re from the program for the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Tony McNamara’s ‘The Grenade’ currently showing in Sydney.

The play, about a lobbyist losing his grip on his family situation really has nothing to do with lobbying at all but as is the way with esoteric programs for such productions, the pre-performance reading material tells us something about an industry we may never have otherwise thought about.

Apparently, in Canberra alone, there are about 150 pressure groups, public relations outfits and specialized consultants keeping permanent offices and employing about a thousand specialists and turning over a billion dollars a year in fee and expenses.

This week I will throw my hat into that ring and head to the Nations capital to lobby for the Owners Corporation Network on a review of laws relating to apartment living in the ACT. Canberra has taken to apartment living like ducks to Lake Burley Griffin and as always, the law makers are playing catch up to provide a range of laws that attempt to balance the rights of the individual with the rights of the common good in these strata communities.

From the vantage point of someone working in at least four different jurisdictions every day about strata laws (NSW, Qld, Vic and ACT), I have to ask the obvious question. ‘Why in this country does each state and territory have to ‘do our own thing?’

Is the plight of people living with children, animals, and leaks and parking problems any different in Dickson than it is in Hornsby or Geelong? I can tell you from first hand experience that its not, yet we have eight different sets of laws about the same human condition, each with their own language and political hierarchy and special interest groups.

Imagine if we could combine the best of each set of laws and work under a common language so that owners of an apartment in Sydney who also own a holiday apartment in Queensland were a little less confused when it came to participating in the affairs of the body corporate. We could draw from the one pool of judicial determinations about different points and perhaps fight a little less. The money we saved on replicating services and re-inventing wheels could go to unit owner education.

Sound like a good idea? Then, we had better start lobbying.

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