Deputy mayor Sally Townley indicated prepared statements may show councillors have done their homework before meetings.
Deputy mayor Sally Townley indicated prepared statements may show councillors have done their homework before meetings. Rob Wright

Proposed CHCC Code Of Meeting Practice gets a public display

COFFS Harbour City Council will place a draft Code of Meeting Practice on public exhibition for 42 days.

Discussion of the draft at the latest meeting centred on the proposal to forbid the use of read speeches at meetings, except for technical information.

Deputy mayor Sally Townley wanted this item removed from the draft, saying there was a problem with definition.

Cr Townley said it implied councillors were not to have any prepared material, whereas she felt more preparation would not go astray.

She wanted the item replaced with a ban on read speeches authored by another person but her move failed and the clause is included in the draft to go on public exhibition.

Cr Garry Innes said reading speeches gave the opportunity for political parties to infiltrate debate.

Cr John Arkan, who is a member of the Liberal party, said he thought it was important to have the freedom of speech enjoyed in our civilised nation and asked if they were allowed to have 'run sheets' with notes, as used by the meeting chair.

Mayor Denise Knight said Cr Townley, a Greens councillor, had 'gorgeous' note points and was very articulate.

Cr Rodney Degens wanted to know how councillors would know if a prepared speech was authored by someone else.

Cr Nan Cowling said she read her speeches to make them as pertinent as possible and if people did not agree with her, they should vote against her.

Cr Sultana said the clause was prejudiced against certain people.

The mayor said she did not think it acceptable to come in to a meeting with a prepared speech and she had even seen people from the gallery trying to get a speech up to a particular councillor.



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