WEDNESDAY morning Maranoa council met for their final meeting of the year. As the meeting was drawing to a close councillor Jan Chambers moved the item of rumours circulating in the community about how voting was occurring, in particular the 7:2 vote.
"There have been 1374 council decisions and unanimous decisions, meaning all in favour have been 1304 and not unanimous has been 163 and other 103,” Cr Chambers said. "Hence the report was done to show that the 7:2 vote doesn't always happen.”
Cr Chambers went on to read that the council respects the democratic right of councillors to have differing viewpoints, and recognises that there is not going to be agreement on all issues.
"In fact councillors whole-heartedly recognise and value the importance of robust debate in the council chambers because out of that comes even better decisions than any individual would make in their own right,” she said.
Whilst a healthy democracy encourages different inputs and perspectives as part of making decisions, Cr Chambers said opinions needed to be based on an understanding of the facts, rather than just accepting what someone has said is true.
"Unfortunately the old rumour mill is now going viral,” she said. "Some of the rumours during this term of council have gone beyond mere gossip and have incited personal and aggressive verbal attacks towards individuals who have simply stepped forward to help make the best decisions they can for our current and future local communities.”
In a bid to dispel the 7:2 rumour the report further outlined that decisions are made on the basis of what is best for the broader community, now and in the future.
"It would be very easy to say if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen, however local government has historically not been about politics or political teams,” Cr Chambers said. "Those elected live in the communities they represent sometimes their entire lives.
"In many cases they have been, and continue to be, part of numerous community groups, in some cases for decades, and have worked in the community in various roles.”
Whilst the aim was to eliminate the 7:2 voting stigma, when Mayor Tyson Golder put the motion to vote the result was ironically 7:2.
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