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Editorial April 27th 2018

Welcome to this week’s editorial,

This week I ask “Are we beginning to see the underbelly of council ?” When we all voted for our councillors back in September 2016 we listened to what they professed and heard them all talk of wanting to bring openness and transparency. There were those who said that the council was top-heavy and they would strive to pull that down and there were others who were clearly not happy with “the books” and were going to initiate an audit. Each and all of them stood on a platform of promises to better represent the community. Last Tuesday saw an interesting turn of events which might just be the corner where change might happen. Firstly the councillors were asked, via a motion from Green’s councillor Pat McGinlay to back writing a letter to Federal Government calling for a ban on the exporting of live animals destined for slaughter. The Councillors and public in the gallery and via live streaming heard five members of the community speak for the motion. They spoke clearly and descriptively of the plight of the animals and asked their councillors to represent them in the political arenas of government. To their dismay and disgust the Councillors, when put to a vote, said NO, they would not, offering that those speaking didn’t represent 51% of the shire, that dead animals bring no profit so the operators would fix the problem; and that the operators were insured against loss anyway; and that it wasn’t the business of the council to call for a closure of an industry. While this sentiment left a very sour taste to all who witnessed it what it did was to reveal exactly who our councillors are. Firstly Brown, Tait, Pollock and Thompson downright refuse to support calls for public speakers to have extensions of time beyond five minutes when a vote is sought to extend by a further three. Nathan, Mayne, Constable and McGinlay are most often more generous and encouraging; respecting the effort and often the trepidation public speakers have in addressing Council. As for the Mayor she is well aware that she is being watched and for her to deny a speaker an extension would be a statement that she can ill afford to make. Her absence, attending a mayoral seminar, was refreshing as it installed Deputy Mayor Anthony Mayne in the Chair and he showed by example what a mayor could be with grace. The too-often applied castigation or dismissing of public speakers was absent and the generosity of Clr Mayne to use his casting vote managed to see the extension of time of the public speakers allowing them to hopefully deliver enough of a background to gain the support they had come to find. Alas, on the day, the support wasn’t there but what was revealed was worth the attempt in that it clearly showed the characters at play. Brown as being contemptuous, Thompson as being indifferent, Tait as being an empty vessel, Constable as being cautious yet supportive of anyone who might go out on a limb, Mayne as being an empathetic ear and gaining strength to challenge the Gang of Five with Pat McGinlay now beginning to bring forward issues on behalf of the community that reveal, on closer inspection and debate, the ineptitudes that now pop up across the council chamber. Until next Lei

#Opinion #Editorial #Weekly

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