Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Wingecarribee Shire Council meeting

An Extra-ordinary General meeting of Wingecarribee Shire Council was held this afternoon. And extraordinary it certainly was.
The public was invited to attend, but we were not allowed to say anything (well, nearly). We did have "NO" signs, which could conveniently be reversed to read "ON". And these were frequently held up, "en masse". It made it resemble a silent movie scene, perhaps a Charlie Chaplin movie?

It was a closely scripted event. Larry Whipper proposed and moved an amendment, but from the outset it was obvious that the Campbell-Jones group had caucused. They were "all singing from the same song sheet", and had no intention of wavering from their position. Numerous innuendos were delivered about "elections in the air". The most ludicrous moment was when Clr Penny George included in her speech elaborate references to a speech by Martin Luther King about distinguishing between things which were right, good or popular. Oh, please, Penny! The audience started to giggle, and we earned our first Mayor rebuke.

That's the wrong Martin Luther King speech to quote. Try the "I have a dream" speech.
Except Penny, however nice, and well-meaning, just isn't that kind of Councillor.

Much was made about certain Councillors coming to the debate with "pre-conceived philosophical positions" (as if it was only the ones opposed to selling Public lands who have a "philosophical" position). Wasn't "Gordon Gekko" driven by a "philosophy". As I recall it was "greed is good". But Clr. Nick Campell-Jones and Clr. Malcolm Murray seem to think that having a view about not selling Public Parks is a "philosophy" (and that's something one ought be ashamed of, apparently), but having a firmly held view on privatisation of Public Parks is "good public policy", and nothing to do with a conservative economic "philosophy".

Wake up, Malcolm and Nick. You may have the balance of power in Council, but you do not have right on your side.

This was an exercise in futility, from the start, to the finish.


I must commend Clr Yeo for proposing an important motion to include a parcel of land on Oxley Drive, Bowral (on Mt. Gibraltar) into the Mt. Gibraltar Reserve. Then the Councillors voted on the most important motion, to consolidate all the various parcels of land which make up the current Mt. Gibraltar Reserve into a single parcel of land. That is most important, for it will make it exceedingly difficult for a future Council to remove small parcels of land from the Reserve (as this Council has been trying to do with small parcels of Public Parks land so recently).

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