New council rules: No mobiles, no interrupting and sit down
THE Ipswich City Council has passed what Interim Administrator Greg Chemello describes as "the last part of the councillor governance and integrity package for the city of Ipswich".
The changes mean new rules for the return of elected representatives at March 2020 local government elections.
Mr Chemello said he had worked closely with chief executive David Farmer, the Interim Management Committee and the council's leadership team to complete the policy and structural reform work needed to ensure appropriate councillor conduct and integrity next year.
The rules introduce new expectations of conduct at council meetings including that councillors must refrain from using mobile phones, must not interrupt other councillors who are speaking (unless it is a point of order), only make relevant comments during discussion, address other councillors and staff appropriately and must remain seated and silent when votes are taken.
The council has adopted the Meeting Conduct Policy, which is required under the Local Government Act 2009, and the Public Participation at Council Ordinary Meetings Policy, plus a minor amendment to the Meeting Procedures Policy.
The Meeting Conduct Policy gives procedures for how the chairman of a local government meeting may deal with a councillor's unsuitable meeting conduct and how any suspected inappropriate conduct of a councillor, referred to the local government by the assessor, must be dealt with at a local government meeting, Mr Chemello said.
"General conduct during meetings together with conflicts of interest and material personal interests are also covered.
"We also identified that public participation at council's ordinary meetings would be valuable for residents and ratepayers to provide an avenue to present views and issues."
In future, councillors can be directed to cease the "unsuitable meeting conduct", apologise, withdraw comments and, in the worst case scenario, be reprimanded and forced to leave the meeting.