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NEWS DESK

Public to be filmed at council meetings

Council meetings unedited Neil Walker neil@baysidenews.com.au VIDEO recordings of public Kingston Council meetings have not been tampered with in any way, the mayor Cr Steve Staikos says. The mayor responded to allegations made in Parliament by Liberal state Upper House MP for the South Eastern Metropolitan Region Inga Peulich last month by writing to the Victorian Legislative Council asking that the parliamentary record be corrected. In wide-ranging criticism of Kingston Council, made under parliamentary privilege on 7 March, Ms Peulich said: “The City of Kingston appears to be perhaps a little lacking in openness in relation to the public record of its council meetings.  “Audio recordings have been removed from proceedings, and councillors have been referring to secret meetings being held, even though we know that caucusing is unlawful under the act by inference.” The mayor Cr Steve Staikos wrote to the Victorian Legislative Council demanding a right of reply be lodged on the parliamentary record but it was rejected by the VLC. “I am able to advise you that no editing of Kingston’s live stream videos of archives footage has taken place,” Cr Staikos said in the letter.

Cr Steve Staikos

MP Inga Peulich

“Kingston receives the live feed recording from an external company and makes no changes to the files.” Ms Peulich called for the Labor state government to send a monitor in to Kingston Council. A municipal monitor was sent to Frankston Council late last year for an expected 18-month term to report back to Victorian Local Government Minister Marlene Kairouz about any “governance concerns”. Ms Peulich said in Parliament she is concerned about a majority of councillors voting for a notice of motion “which would prevent a Liberal candidate who was a councillor from performing his duties”. Cr Geoff Gledhill is the Liberal Party’s candidate for Mordialloc at November’s state election. A 5-4 majority of councillors in March voted to ban councillors standing as state or federal candidates from debating or voting on matters men-

tioned in election campaign material (“‘Clamp down’ on candidates”, The News 10/3/18). Ms Peulich said she believed the motion “is unlawful”. “It certainly would not stand up to any government scrutiny,” she said in parliament. “We need a monitor to get these people under control.” Victorian Legislative Council president Bruce Atkinson, also Upper House Liberal Eastern Metropolitan Region MP, said Cr Staikos’ right of reply was not accepted since it did not meet parliamentary Standard Orders requirements. “It didn’t outline how Cr Staikos as an individual had been adversely affected in reputation,” Mr Atkinson said. “The comments made by Mrs Peulich in proceedings made no mention of Cr Staikos.”

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PEOPLE attending Kingston Council meetings will be filmed in future after some councillors voiced safety concerns in the wake of “disgraceful behaviour” at some meetings last year. Pointing a CCTV camera at the public gallery section of the council chamber during meetings was suggested at the latest council meeting on 28 May by Cr Georgina Oxley. Councillors unanimously backed the proposal. “There have been complaints that people who have attended have not felt safe in our gallery,” Cr Oxley said. “I think there’s been a number of altercations where people have felt quite threatened in our public gallery.” The South Ward councillor said she had felt threatened at a meeting last year. “There was an altercation even with myself where I was threatened by a member of the gallery,” Cr Oxley said. Cr Tamara Barth said people expected to be filmed going about their day every day anyway. “Ordinary people operating in society have an expectation that they will be filmed, whether it’s using an ATM, crossing a busy road or going into certain luxury shops and banks,” she said. “There are probably multiple times a day we’re recording going about our business and that’s fine.” Cr Tamsin Bearsley said she was comfortable backing the CCTV camera being pointed at the public gallery

since the footage would not be publicly viewable or accessible. Cr Bearsley said “the sound quality is unlikely to capture individual conversations” and only law enforcement agencies would be granted access to footage if necessary. Cr Geoff Gledhill said no-one had complained to him about feeling threatened but he also supported the filming of the public gallery. “We are all used to CCTV and being filmed,” he said. Cr Rosemary West noted there had been heated arguments during debates last year at council meetings about building the final part of the cycling and walking Bay Trail from Mentone to Mordialloc. “There was some disgraceful behaviour in the gallery last year,” she said. Cr West also noted councillors’ conduct had improved since council started streaming video of meetings live online with archived footage of public meetings available to view on council’s website. Neil Walker

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6 June 2018  

Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News 6 June 2018

6 June 2018  

Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News 6 June 2018

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