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Presentation: ​Donald Macdonald June 11th 2019



VIDEO: Ordinary Meeting of Eurobodalla Council Date: June 11th 2019

Presentation by Donald Macdonald

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Eurobodalla Local Government Committee Acting Secretary, Donald Macdonald Contact My name is Donald Macdonald. I am the acting secretary of Eurobodalla Local Government Committee of the Australian Labor Party. I wish to speak on the Code of Meeting Practice GMR19/010. For the benefit of councillors, I have had to amend my original presentation when becoming aware of recent occurrences relating to this submission. There are several areas I would like to have addressed in the general manager’s responses to submissions but, since time is against me, I would like to speak specifically to live streaming and webcasting of the Peoples’ Forum and the general manager’s response to submissions. The general manager’s reasons are wordier than you would think necessary and I am sure she would have taken much longer to put in print than the five minutes I am permitted so I will try and separate the chatter from what is really important. First item. The general manager says the OLG has stated public forums should not be held during council meetings. Given that the word ‘should’ and not ‘must or will’ is used implies this is not a directive but a suggestion. I am sure Councillor Nathan would appreciate the difference. In fact, if council so wished, the public forum could be included during council meeting as happens with Queanbeyan Palerang Council. This council commences its meeting and during the process is adjourned to conduct the Public Forum. Once the public Forum is completed the meeting is recommenced. I have included a link for reference. https://www.qprc.nsw.gov.au/Council/Council-business/Public-involvement-at-Council-meetings Second Item. The GM talks about potential liability and disorderly conduct as motivators to discontinue live streaming and webcasting. I find these reasons disingenuous given that that in all the time webcasting Public Forums has been used I can only recall one incident which occurred recently and resulted in a deletion of part of a webcast, purportedly for legal reasons. Still waiting for that to be explained. In any case, council can remove disruptive individuals and certainly have the ability to block unruly members of the public from speaking at public forums. Why is this council so determined to go against the status quo and why would the council wish to stop webcasting the Public forum when Shoalhaven Council, Wollongong Council, and Queanbeyan Palerang Council have decided to go with webcasting Public Forums? Why are we the odd one out? I would like it noted that it appears Bega council is also supportive of web casting peoples’ forums. Have these developments been brought to councillors’ attention that we are now surrounded by four shire councils who would web cast peoples’ forums? Councillors should also reflect on this and other amendments and additions that will be discussed and voted on today in this chamber. Labor holds dear what few freedoms we have and freedom of speech is one element you cannot bargain away in this chamber. There was a time back in 1980 when this council determined to keep information from the general view, and we know that didn’t end well for councillors or council. Is that the track you want to go down? Donald Macdonald

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