Mayors’ Tongues Astray

Since the November 2013 Mayoral Elections in Monash it seems that a requirement for election has been a lack of control over the Mayoral tongue.

By April 2014, Mayor Lake was forced to apologise for his tongue straying and promising to exercise greater control in the future.  The meeting minutes record:

Des Olin question:
As a result of shared learning from the incident in engaging inappropriate correspondence with Jack Davies, will the Mayor of the City of Monash Council announced publically that he will exercise and also ensure other Councillors will exercise the highest care and diligence in complying with:
1. The Monash code of conduct, and
2. Its application in accordance to the Local Government Act, including latest amendments) when engaging and communicating with members of the public?”
Thank you for your question.
Yes, I unreservedly give that guarantee.
As you know, my response to the letter in question was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek and good-humoured response.
I accept that it has not been taken that way by the recipient and I have written to him separately to assure him that given his objection to this response, a similar tongue-in-cheek approach will not be used again in future correspondence to him.
I regret any concern caused to him or anyone else as that was certainly not intended.

Mayor Klisaris’ tongue was quicker to escape the Mayoral chain of office in 2015, however.  Waverley Leader, 27 January 2015, reported the following:

MONASH Mayor Paul Klisaris has been lambasted by his Liberal colleagues for a “tongue-in-cheek” comment appealing for new Australian citizens to vote Labor.

Addressing 42 new citizens at the council’s Australia Day citizenship ceremony today, Cr Klisaris said Australians could vote however they chose, “but we’d prefer it if you voted Labor”.

Cr Klisaris later defended his comments, saying there was freedom of speech in Australia and he didn’t think his comment would have “swayed anyone” to vote Labor.

“I think people are being a little bit precious, it was all tongue in cheek,” Cr Klisaris said.

“I turned to our guests and apologised.”

The rest of the City of Monash is still awaiting an apology for this misconduct.  Personal freedom of speech is one thing; comments made under the guise of an official position do not enjoy that same privilege.

Perhaps Monash Mayoral candidates should undergo some post-electoral tongue training – if you must put your tongue in your cheek, have the good sense to bite it before you say something silly and embarrassing to the city you purport to represent!


One thought on “Mayors’ Tongues Astray”

  1. The damage done is not just restricted to having a Mayor violated the Local Government Act’s conduct principles for Councillors and the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code. Paul’s misconduct also started bomb fights between party political opponents and even among readers in the Waverley Leader’s reader comments section relating to the news article.

    Supposing to be multi-culturally savvy and a long standing Councillor in Monash, one would think Mayor Klisaris would be mindful of what he says in public that has effects on migrant citizens’ behaviours and decision directions. Maybe he really lacks cross cultural intelligence or realizes that what he says can assert psychological influence on new migrants ‘s decision making to choosing his preferred political party of his choice. Many of these citizens come from countries where governments and authorities often dictate their citizens’ viewpoints and therefore thinking, resulting in instilling strong complaisant behaviours that often override people’s consciousness that it is OK in Australia to be different and have free will in choices, including political choices. It is also common practice that politicians often use this knowledge in their social engineering endeavors. As a migrant citizen myself, it is important that all new citizens and intending permanent residents understand their citizen rights, including having free will to choose, including political decisions, and there is no pressure or personal repercussions when someone in authority tries to assert their personal preferences to tell people what they ought to be doing.

    It is most warranted that a good leader that respects differences in cultures, set the communication message right. Therefore, if Paul really wants to be a good leader, then it is most appropriate that he explains his wrong social doing publicly. Integrity and humbleness are what many migrant citizens value as strong and good leadership qualities.

    Saying sorry publicly for wrong social or politically incorrect doing is an option for showing culturally appropriately respect through humility.

    The acid test for Paul is how he respond to the public outcry about his misconduct. What he does or does not do next will say a lot about how good and appropriate is his leadership competency in a multicultural Monash community.


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