Attempts to broker a peace deal in the inner-city municipality of Burchett Hill have failed, with two councils claiming control of the city.

"The People's and Workers' Council" (PWC), an alliance of Greens and independent socialists led by long-serving Mayor Councillor Les Rhiannon, is still in possession of the Town Hall and other municipal facilities. A new municipal council, made up of Coalition and "free enterprise" candidates, is waiting to take office after its members won 93 per cent of the vote in last September's election.

Councillor Rhiannon maintains that the election was "shamelessly rigged - thousands of 'postal votes' for our party received before the election and held in our headquarters to be added to the ballot boxes on the day were destroyed in a fire caused by climate change," he says. "The electoral commission has denied us the most basic justice. We demand to be allowed to ask the senders of those votes to vote again."

The source of the votes-consuming blaze, according to firemen on the scene, was a faulty souvlaki cooker in the kitchen of Salmonella's Bar & Grill next door to Hoxha House, the Greens headquarters. Flames spread quickly, helped by the fact that Hoxha House was recently refurnished in "sustainable vernacular" style with recycled redgum, hessian and wattle bark. "If the day had been cooler, which of course it couldn't be with global warming, the fire would have been out before this national tragedy occurred," Councillor Rhiannon explained.

In spite of the loss of the "postal votes" Councillor Rhiannon believes that the "not insubstantial" percentage of ratepayers who voted in favour of the PWC "legitimises us as the majority-preferred choice for the continuing good governance of the city", a view endorsed by the ABC's Burchett Hill Local Radio and the Fairfax-owned Burchett Hill Clarion. "Seven per cent of votes by democratically-minded ratepayers dedicated to improving conditions for the victim groups of the community is worth 700 per cent cast by selfish bourgeois property owners only interested in money and the value of their houses and slashing social services to the needy," thundered the Clarion in an editorial. "There is no point in mathematical quibbles. The 'Burchett Hill 7 per cent' are the people with a heart and conscience and in that sense are morally a majority," the Clarion told its readers (104 according to the latest circulation figures, mostly through subscriptions to the municipal library and council offices).

The same point was made by Councillor Rhiannon's new "partner", Carmel O'Halloran-Plibersek, a former organiser with the Union of Diversity Enforcement Officers, who is herself a Greens councillor and likes to be known as "La Pasionaria". Facial hair bristling, she told IBC Radio's Women's Empowerment Hour programme that "frankly, fascist votes don't count". "We're in power," she shrieked, "we're staying in power and to want me and the party I belong to out is basically misogyny against women."

Councillor Rhiannon has refused to meet a parliamentary delegation from Canberra sent to Burchett Hill to defuse the situation and pave the way for a peaceful handover of power, describing the delegates as "agents of terror despatched by the oppressive and discredited Abbott regime to stifle the forces of self-determination". Claiming to be fearful of assassination, he has enlisted as his "personal protection force" the Sons of the Caliphate (courtesy of Imam Ibn al Choppa-Hedoff Poofa of Burchett Hill Mosque), the dazzling scimitar-performance group and arts grant recipients whose whirling blades caused several cases of accidental genital mutilation at last summer's Burchett Hill International Festival of Multiculturalism and Fun.

Most of the votes in favour of the PWC were in Sharkey Ward where a number of public institutions such as Manning Clark University and the Burchett Hill Women Against Vaginal Exploitation Collective are located. Councillor Rhiannon has ordered that necessary municipal services such as rubbish collection and street cleaning be concentrated on this ward and withdrawn from other wards to "punish" them for their "disloyalty". At the same time, the council's entire staff of parking inspectors will be deployed in the "disloyal" wards with tripled daily "targets" and major roads there blocked off and replaced by bicycle lanes, rockeries and skateboard parks.

2 December 2013

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