City of South Perth councillors reject three-month ban from council meetings for abusive or disruptive behaviour

Stock image.
Stock image.

CITY of South Perth councillors last night rejected an officer recommendation to include a three-month suspension for residents who engaged in repetitive inappropriate or disruptive behaviour at council meetings as part of the City’s Standing Orders Local Law.

Councillor Greg Milner proposed the alternative motion, which passed 5-3, on the grounds that he felt the new clauses were poorly drafted and negated the merits of public policy.

“A ban from council meetings potentially could have significant consequences especially for the person who is being banned,” he said.

“(They are) going to be denied the ability to hear and take part in the business of the council and committee meetings; such business might include matters that are of significant interest to (them) or (they) may have perspectives or information that may assist council in their deliberations of a matter, or which may be otherwise in the public interest; and the existent of these new clauses may well cause resentment within the community and may be perceived as over kill.

“The presiding member already has the power to expel a person who is being disruptive or confrontational in the gallery and therefore the only benefit we are going to get from these proposed new clauses is limiting any disturbances caused by someone who already has three strikes, before the president member can expel that person once again using the existing powers, and so I would argue the potential public benefit is rather limited.”

Deputy Mayor Glenn Cridland agreed with Cr Milner’s concerns in regards to the ambiguous wording within the clauses but said he felt the proposed three-month suspension improved the Standing Orders.

“Only this year I have received Hitler salutes and had people calling out (profanities); that sort of disgraceful behaviour is not acceptable and I do think that we need to have the ability to suspend someone who within a reasonable period has been expelled three times,” Cr Cridland said.

“We shouldn’t tie our hands and try to deal with it after the incident, just (waiting) until they misbehave and get barred again while the public suffer.”Other proposed changes to the Standing Orders included when and who can give deputations as well as definitions of agenda briefing , alternative motions and unacceptable amendments were endorsed and will be put out for public comment.

Visit www.yoursay.southperth.wa.gov.au.

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