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Long live Public Forum Version 2.0

Beagle Readers, Tomorrow Councillors will vote on a Council staff recommendation to remove the video recording and webcasting of Public Forum sessions and instead conduct Public Forum for gallery observers only. Council has advised that it will not record the sessions nor will they minute the sessions however they have said they will publish a transcript of the presentation on their website. What won't be published however will be the questions asked of the speaker by Councillors. What won't be published will be the rhetorical denigration of speakers that we have come to see along with the pre-arranged Dorothy Dix questions asked by Councillors to staff designed to undermine the integrity of presenters and to dilute their presentation. None of that will be recorded as has been the case to date with the video recording and webcasting of Public Forum. The Beagle has asked if it will be allowed to record the Public Forum questions and responses by Councillors to ensure fair and accurate report of proceedings. We have been told no such permissions will be given. Fortunately The Beagle will be able to attend these Public Forum meetings and still report on the presentations by gaining access to and publishing the written presentations as we have done for the past two years.

Along with that we will be inviting Public Forum presenters to give their presentations to camera outside the chambers and to offer their recollections of the questions asked and the answers given as well as advise viewers of their opinion of how the presentation went. The Beagle will continue to do its post-meeting writeup and hopefully will accurately account what happened in the Public Forum in a style that offers an insight into body language, nuance and the general feel of the chamber such as this example that could well have been written of a previous Public Forum presentation Mr Smith (not real name) took the presenters chair, laid his papers on the table and then said good morning introducing himself, pausing to pour a glass of water, unknowingly now on the clock that gave him just five minutes to present. As he began he was disappointed to look around the chamber to see just two councillors making eye contact with most looking at their devices and with the Mayor engaged in a sideways discussion with the General Manager. Mr Smith pressed on. His issue with the agenda of the day was that its recommendations to go into a Confidential session were in breach of the Local Government Act and he was desperately attempting to inform the Councillors advising clauses and guidance. By the four minute mark it was clear they had no interest with one Councillor actually swivelling his chair so as not to see the speaker at all while another reenacted his classic nose-picking session caught on camera during the last auditors report. From their collective body language it was clear that the engagement he sought from the councillors of the gravity of the situation did little to raise concern. To be expected there were no questions. The Beagle now understands from the post-meeting briefing given by Councillor XXX that, having received the presentation in writing 24 hours before, the GM had satisfied the councillors during the pre-meeting briefing advising the presenter was incorrect and was most likely vexatious as he had written to council on previous occasions and was now on a watch list that would see him removed from further communications. And guess what ... Council would not be able to refute any of that as they have ..... no record. Oh happy days ahead :) as the Beagle becomes the new Public Forum Ver. 2.0 for the community, archived to Youtube for all to enjoy. Lei

#Opinion #LeiParker

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