09 February 2020
Gagging orders are not OK
I read with dismay this week that Adelaide City Councilors were not allowed to do anything but raise questions of staff at a Committee Meeting. It has always been my understanding that the purpose of a committee meeting was to debate officer's reports on various topics and come to a decision that would later be endorsed by Council and the acted upon by staff. Asking questions certainly is useful in getting clarification or further information from staff before the debate begins. At the debating stage motions are moved, amended, refused or approved. Occasionally a further motion is put if the first one fails. At the point this comes to Council sometimes the matter no longer needs to be debated but often it does. Gagging Councillors at the Committee stage means the full debate will be held in the Council chamber which may be lengthy and time consuming in some cases.