Councillor almost silent in protest

Richard Pain.

Richard Pain.

A Wakefield councillor remained almost silent at the latest council meeting in protest at plans to put recordings of debates on the internet.

Before the meeting, Cr David Lamond hinted to the Northern Argus that he would be true to his word after threatening to stay mute over the plans.

Once debate got underway, he was twice asked to speak on moves that he had proposed to the elected members and each time he refrained.

Under meeting procedure, the mover of a resolution can outline his reasons for proposed action.

As proceedings continued, he made minimal comments until the chief executive officer’s report was tabled and an item caught his eye.

He then said he had visited the Men’s Shed at Owen and was “gobsmacked” by the venue and activities.

He visited the shed with the Lions Club of Balaklava.

Cr Lamond later told the newspaper that the recording of meetings for the council website was a “waste of time”.

At a previous meeting, Wakefield Regional Council decided to buy a portable microphone system and new recording device worth up to $1500.

Copies of recordings will be made publicly available through the council website.

Council baulked at setting up video-recording and live streaming it after it was reported it could cost more than $30,000.

Acting corporate services manager Kelly Westell told the previous meeting there were risks with recordings.

“Comments made ‘off the cuff’ in the heat of debate – which in many cases would not be captured in the minutes – would be subject to scrutiny and potential litigation,” she said.

“Elected members are not protected by the same levels of privilege as parliamentarians.

“Any member of the gallery making a defamatory statement could be at risk of legal action and council could be liable if it republishes defamatory remarks or malicious comments.”