Peter Bernard made comments regarding the Live Streaming of Council Meetings at the Ordinary Council Meeting 28 March 2017.
Through you Madam Mayor to all councillors,
It has been general practice in the past to live stream all agenda items and not non- agenda item. The result of this is the stifling debate and suppressing other issues being raised. This prevents the wider public being made aware of issues other than what the bureaucracy wishes you to hear. It is an insult to our democratic system for this council to allow the practice to continue. It encourages the consolidation of a system where democratically elected persons become divorced from the citizens they were elected to represent. Live streaming is an excellent idea and its extension to cover issues that really matter to ratepayer must be introduced. It will bring the bureaucracy closer to the people that pay their wages which, in most cases, is far more than most people are struggling to live on.
Councillors you only have to look at the agenda to day Over 200 pages, much of it "gobbly gook ", designed to numb your brain and prevent you from raising issues that are closer to the people. If you want to get closer to the issues that exist out there you must open the doors to democracy. Councillors I am personally encouraged by the new faces on this council and are seeing all of these showing a degree of independence by moving motions of their own making. Madam Mayor allowing live streaming of non- agenda items will encourage others to attend and lay the foundation for greater transparency. Madam Mayor If you become the leader of the push and move along this path as you have done on other issues it will be a major advancement for citizen rights. I make a solemn promise to keep away, but not necessarily quiet, if you encourage this bold step.
Peter Bernard 28-3-2017 Following on from Mr Bernard's presentation and some fun banter between Mr Bernard and the Mayor Councillor Nathan came to the microphone saying that the issue Mr Bernard was presenting today was about Non Agenda Items and that Public Access presentations were not in a closed session giving evidence of the public and the media present in the gallery. She also took issue with Mr Bernards comment "It is an insult to our democratic system" saying that the live streaming in itself was an advancement of the previous Council to open the doors and bring it out into the open. Mr Bernard retorted to a comment by the General Manager that that Public Access presentations are available on the Council's website for all to read along with Council responses "It doesn't show feelings". Mayor Innes told Mr Bernard she would take on board the suggestion to ensure the chamber is inclusive however she believed the process was correct. "if you inspire a councillor they can then take up the cause as an agenda item". Mayor Innes warned though that she did not want to see the Public Access half hour and “the council used as a soapbox to air all kinds of grievances”. "The chamber deserves more respect than that" "Eurobodalla is a very extended community" Councillor McGinlay thanked Mr Bernard for raising the issue saying that others had also raised the issue. "I would like to have a briefing of the pros and cons for one and would like to know why we can't live stream" It was observed by Mr Bernard that if an issue can't be brought forward it often ends up in a petition and the angst and anger around the raising of the issue is mainly due to Council not listening or responding.