Cr Brian Stockwell.
Cr Brian Stockwell. Luke Barrowcliffe

Meetings going live a hot topic as seed of dissent sown

DRAMA, intrigue and accusations - Noosa councillors should be happy there were no cameras live-streaming last week's public meeting as it played out like a soap opera when the topic was raised.

One councillor insisted - in a meeting that was open to the public - that future council meetings should be more "transparent".

In what rapidly became a farcical process, councillor Ingrid Jackson motioned for all future council meetings to be digitally recorded and archived.

 

This was rejected but not before much debate, including the unhappy councillor challenging the legality of a move by Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie.

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A feisty Cr Jackson also took a reference of political grandstanding by Cr Brian Stockwell personally and then tried to overturn a mayoral ruling by moving a motion of dissent.

Cr Stockwell brought a sharp objection from Cr Jackson when he said her motion did not go through the due process of being first investigated by staff, who could provide expert advice for the council's consideration.

"Due process promotes good governance, political grandstanding does not," CrStockwell said.

Cr Jackson objected that her character and reputation had been impugned.

"The allegation is false," Cr Jackson said.

Mayor Tony Wellington then intervened, saying councillors were obligated to be respectful of each other.

Cr Stockwell said at no stage did he mention Cr Jackson and he made no indication that this was a personal reference.

"I can't help it if Cr Jackson thought I was referring to her," he said.

"I used the term 'grandstanding' in terms of process. Not in the person involved.

 

"I've long supported the concept of live streaming, of making it more accessible.

"But there may be some negative side effects of televising or broadcasting through the internet proceedings of meetings."

He pointed to a public perception that the broadcasting of Federal Parliament question time had bred an "asinine stupidity".

Cr Jackson then objected to the Deputy Mayor's amendment, asserting it was seeking to negate her motion.

"This is not an amendment, it contradicts the motion I have put," she said.

"The results of the Deputy Mayor's amendment would be that the council does not agree in principal to record and live stream.

"So this amendment could well be unlawful. I suggest it is and we would have to have legal advice if we went forward with this."

Cr Jess Glasgow supported her comments and during debate urged councillors to support live streaming as a "lay down misere".

Cr Wilkie said he would not have put forward this amendment without checking the legalities.

 

"It does not seek to negate it, it seeks to put it in the proper order to get it across the line, rather than have the thing killed off at birth because of improper process," he said.

In ruling on the objection, Cr Wellington said this amendment did not prevent the council from introducing the intention of the first motion, drawing a motion of dissent from Cr Jackson, which was lost.

Councillors, who were opposed to having to vote before they had seen detailed reports and costings for this recording system, agreed to authorise Cr Wilkie's amended motion for the chief executive to investigate the options of such streaming and recordings and report back to the council in three months.


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