Hands on heads improves Monash Council meeting

 01 June 2016

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Last night Monash councillors voted to introduce the toughest set of meeting procedures and governance arrangements of any Victorian council.

The measures were introduced in response to a recent decline in councillor and public gallery behaviour at Council meetings.

Among the changes, councillors are now required to place two hands on their head if they wish to raise a point of order – a measure introduced to overcome the way repetitive points of order have been used to disrupt and frustrate the transaction of business at recent meetings.

Following the meeting, Monash Mayor Geoff Lake declared that order had been restored to the Monash Council chamber.

“Over the past year, we would not have had more than 10 minutes of a meeting go past without a point of order being raised to disrupt proceedings,” Cr Lake said. 

“Last night we did not have a single point of order following the adoption of these changes for the remainder of the meeting – a period of more than two hours.

“I know some people think these measures are over the top, however what is clear is that these changes have worked and have immediately improved the functioning of our meetings. 

“This means more time for debating the issues and transacting the business of the Council while less time is wasted on inane points of procedure designed only to disrupt and frustrate the functioning of our meetings.

“If people behave like children and act in an unprofessional way, they can expect to be treated like children.  I make no apologies for that.  I was elected Mayor a few weeks ago to fix our dysfunctional meetings and I am determined to do that.

“After finishing times of midnight, 11.45pm and 3am at recent meetings, I am very pleased that following these changes last night we were able to get through one of our longest agendas ever before 11pm.

“I think speakers of state and federal parliaments could learn a thing or two from this approach.”

Media Contact: Geoff Lake 0411 645 281 or Geoff.Lake@monash.vic.gov.au

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