Media Response Monash Stallholder Guidelines

Questions and Responses

Please see below questions regarding guidelines for stallholders, particularly for political parties, at events and festivals We've had a few people contact us about this so seeking to clarify a few things. This is for Saturday's paper so a COB or mid-afternoon deadline would be preferable if possible. I've attached the guidelines below to confirm they are correct.

What is the motivation behind these guidelines regarding political messaging? What are these guidelines trying to achieve? Why has the Monash Council instituted these rules?

On February 20 2018 a Special Meeting of Council was held to clarify these guidelines prior to the Monash Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival.

The purpose of clarifying these guidelines came after a candidate raised the issue that they were not allowed, under Council’s guidelines, to have a stall at this event. Council’s policy is that only sitting members can have stalls at Council-run and Council supported festivals and events. We believe that our festivals and events are an opportunity to celebrate and enrich the cultural life of our community.  Through the provision of stalls at these festivals and events, the community is able to access information from local community services and organisations that directly benefit them.  Our local sitting State and Federal Government representatives are considered part of our community network.

At this meeting, it was proposed and agreed that officers would undertake consultation with the community to get their views about the presence of local members of parliament at our events and festivals.  The community consultation occurred in July and August 2018 with strong support for sitting members having the ability to be present at our community events. 

BACKGROUND

For more info: https://www.monash.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/about-us/council/council-meetings/minutes-decisions/20-february-2018-council-special-meeting-minutes.pdf

Are these guidelines new? If not how long have they been in place? What changes and updates were passed by council on Tuesday night?

Council has had stallholder and speaker guidelines since 24 November 2014. At the 30 October 2018 Meeting Council adopted the updated guidelines for stallholders and speakers at Monash festivals and events. The updated version of the guidelines seeks to provide greater clarity for stallholders to ensure the alignment of Council’s and our community’s expectations at council-run and supported festivals and events.

Do these restrictions apply to community groups with political messaging over a particular issue? Ie a stall that is anti-skyrail, pro-development.

These guidelines apply to all stallholders and the guidelines do not permit this type of promotional/advocacy activity.

Some critics have expressed concern over these policies as being restrictive. Others in the believe such rules give would local incumbents an advantage by restricting messaging on their term. What are your responses to these claims? 

Sitting members are able to have stalls at our festivals and events as an opportunity to have conversations with the communities they serve about information and services that benefit the people in their electorates.

How do you believe these guidelines will provide a positive impact on festivals and events run by the council?

We want our community to enjoy our events and festivals and not feel as if they are attending a political event.

Provided to: Herald Sun

Quoting: Mayor Paul Klisaris

Date: 2 November 2018