Ratepayer ejected from council meeting

Andrew Kiely;s stoush with the City of Swan earned his removal from council chambers. Picture: Bruce Hunt d424990
Andrew Kiely;s stoush with the City of Swan earned his removal from council chambers. Picture: Bruce Hunt d424990

The meeting ground to a halt when Guildford’s Andrew Kiely exceeded his allotted speaking time and called for two councillors’ resignations, despite several warnings to sit down.

City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley and another staff member ushered Mr Kiely from the chamber, which one member of the public gallery described as ‘aggressive’.

Community Newspaper Group took photos of the incident but was forced to delete them under the watchful eye of a staff member because the images ‘had potential to show council in bad light’.

Mr Foley said the man was removed from the chamber but denied claims that staff members physically handled Mr Kiely.

‘Part 9 of the City’s Standing Orders, which are a gazetted Local Law, gives the presiding officer powers in relation to preserving order during the meeting,’ Mr Foley said.

‘Mr Kiely exceeded his allotted time and multiple requests were made for Mr Kiely to end his deputation and sit down.’

Mr Foley said the photos had to be deleted because audio and video recording, as well as photography, was not permitted within the council chambers.

‘This is prohibited under section 6.1 of the City’s Standing Orders and the condition is read aloud by the presiding member as point 2 of Part A of each and every council meeting,’ he said.

Mr Kiely highlighted frustrations of Guildford residents over councillors ignoring a petition of more than 4000 residents in their decision to re-zone Rosehill Golf Course.

Alleged flaws in the council’s decision-making process and community engagement were raised at a special electors’ meeting in May. This was after the City moved to cut down two Guildford trees without enough consultation with residents.

Councillors carried several motions at the meeting to improve accessibility and transparency of their decision-making processes by holding meetings an hour later and recording and streaming meetings online. Several months later nothing has happened.

Save Our Golf Courses Action Group secretary Dianne Arvino was in the public gallery.

She said the council should have been more tolerant and let Mr Kiely finish his speech.

‘He is an example of one face of the thousands of residents that will be hurt by the loss of the amenity of the Rosehill Golf Course,’ Ms Arvino said.

‘City of Swan councillors need to realise that when they sit there and vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to an issue, it affects real people and in this case no impact study was done on the region to find out just how great this hurt will be.

‘Councillors need to have a good understanding of the issue and use documented research in their debate, but this did not happen at the meeting on July 30 when they supported the (golf course) rezoning for the purpose of their submission to the West Australian Planning Commission.’

See also:

Call for councillors to resign