Monash Council: 3 gripes, 2 compliments

Last night’s Monash Council meeting left me insulted and angry.  Work by our strong Councillors and any good moves the Council makes are soon overshadowed by rude, aggressive and unprofessional conduct by a group of Councillors.

Feedback we received at EM&U indicates YOU want to know more about Council see: (Feedback leads to web site improvements and call for writers about Council) so I have shared my own perception of last night’s meeting in this post:  “3 gripes, 2 compliments”.

There is a Council election NEXT YEAR.  A better deal for the local community may well depend on how YOU vote. Be informed!

We welcome YOUR comments – click on the “leave a comment” button above.  All comments are moderated before posting.

GRIPE 1: Rude and aggressive conduct of Councillors

Once again, a Councillor presented a view contrary to other Councillors and was subjected to an aggressive, nasty and totally unprofessional onslaught. Our Mayor Paul Klisaris had earlier muttered “just what we expected” when Cr Robert Davies voted against the rest of the group. This time an individual vote was followed with a rampage: “I don’t believe this has just happened in this Council!” and apologies (to whom?). Why? Whether you agree with Cr Davies or not he was stating a viewpoint held by some constituents in Monash.

Cr Geoff Lake was quick to take up the chase and belligerently pursued the matter. Jumping to his feet for his onslaught he wrongly paraphrased what Cr Davies had said. Fortunately the Young Leaders Group, which had been dined by Council, had left. This was not an example of good conduct for tomorrow’s leaders!

The whole experience was unpleasant for the public gallery.  A member of the gallery who tried to interject was told she would be removed.  It appears it is alright for the Councillors to behave badly and without sanction but not the public.

Time and time again the public sit through appalling exhibitions like this.

Is this how we want OUR elected representatives to behave?

COMPLIMENT 1: Seeking professional advice before voting

Cr Bill Pontikis professionally sought further information about a planning permit for a former quarry.  He questioned the Council staff present to make sure he was clear about the issues involved before he casted his vote.  (I doubt whether he was aware of the mocking looks he was receiving behind his back from another Councillor trying to belittle his professional approach.)

Well done Cr Bill Pontikis.  The public note your professional approach.

Should you attend a Council meeting to watch the candidates in your Ward to make sure you are clear about who you are voting for?

GRIPE 2:  Disinterest of Glen Waverley Councillors

The  annual budget is a major item on the Council agenda.  As the draft budget was tabled last night Councillors from Mulgrave, Mt Waverley and Oakleigh Wards all stood to talk enthusiastically about projects requested by the people in their wards that had been funded.  Once again, the Glen Waverley Ward Councillors did NOT refer to any specific allocation for a project in their ward.

Do you know which Ward you are in?  If not click on the City of Monash Wards link to find out:  Link to City of Monash Wards

How will you decide on who to vote for as your representative at the Council election in 2015?
Monash Council
Monash Council meetings are open to the public. EM&U encourages YOU to attend one BEFORE voting in 2016.

COMPLIMENT 2:  Rate relief for pensioners

My complement goes to the Councillors who spoke to MORE THAN a $50 a year decrease in rates for pensioners.  The increase in HACC (help in your own home) costs (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-18/concerns-growing-over-dramatic-changes-in-home-care-for-seniors/6402120) and rate increases through rises in property values will hit aged residents HARD.

I apologise for not noting which Councillors spoke to this.  We would be happy to post your names if you let EM&U know you support a larger deduction in pensioners rates.

Councillors please note a senior is NOT a pensioner.

Is your Councillor representing your viewpoint in Council?

GRIPE 3:  Lack of community attendance at Council meetings

2016, NEXT YEAR, is the next Council election.  YOUR  vote counts. Yet the public gallery is nearly empty at every Council meeting.

I urge YOU to go along to AT LEAST ONE Council meeting between  26 MAY 2015 and OCTOBER 2016.  Monash constituents need to take on the responsibility of ensuring the next Council is one Monash can be proud of.

Will you make YOUR vote in 2016 count?

There are more gripes and compliments from last night’s meeting but this is all I have time to report.  Add yours to the comments by clicking on “Leave a Comment” at the top of the post.  All comments are moderated by the site administrators.

FOR YOU TO DO:

  • Click the “follow” button on the left hand panel to get an email every time there is a new post on this site.
  • Send the URL of this page to a friend or neighbour who would like to vote responsibly in next year’s Council election.
  • Make sure YOU know which Ward you are in and who your representative on Monash Council is.
Are Glen Waverley Councillors tuned into what is happening in their Ward?
Are Glen Waverley Councillors tuned into what is happening in their Ward?


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8 thoughts on “Monash Council: 3 gripes, 2 compliments”

  1. Last night’s meeting was interesting and disturbing. Cr Davies suggested that it would be better to spend money helping migrants learn English in order to make them “more Australian” than to spend money translating council communications into their native language and, thereby, discouraging them from joining the Australian community.

    Such comments will always be sensitive and Cr Lo, having earlier described his parents’ escape from Vietnam in a small boat, took offence to the implication that not being able to speak English made people less Australian. One can only imagine and speculate on what may have been said to his parents as they settled into this country – his reaction is, perhaps, understandable. Cr Lo said he was deeply offended by the implications and did so courteously rejecting the idea without sinking to personal attacks on Cr Davies.

    It is reasonable to interpret Cr Davies’ comment as I believe he intended it (body language and gestures are lost in a printed report). He appeared to seek ways to encourage migrants to join the community of the country to which they have migrated rather than seek ways to ensure they remain separate.

    There is a place for both parts of what was offered last night. New migrants need to understand what is happening in their community and, when a particular language group is a significant part of the community, it makes sense to use their native language to assist them settling into Australian society. At the same time, it does make sense to assist migrants to learn English as that is the language of this country – we trade, transact business and operate governments in English. It is very difficult to be a fully functioning member of Australian society if you cannot speak the language used every day by most people.

    The truly offensive behaviour at last night’s council meeting came from Crs Lake and Klisaris as they turned what may have been a clumsily expressed view into grounds for a deeply personal and spiteful attack on Cr Davies. He may have expressed his view poorly and did not really explain it particularly well under the circumstances but that does not justify the spite and vitriol directed at his person. Council should be about debating ideas, not attacking people.

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  2. Thank you so much Gayle – your efforts in keeping the community informed about what is going on in Council are so appreciated! Obviously still many frustrated aspiring politicians there who never quite made it wanting to flex some muscle. Is it true that the proceeds of the aged care facilities sale were used to pay off Council debt?

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    1. Yes George, Cr Geoff Lake made it clear at last night’s meeting the existing $11.8m loan has been paid off due to the sale of residential aged care. At what cost to the elderly in our community? This was not mentioned.

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      1. So Council accumulates debt as a result of ineffective financial decision making and decides to deal with this debt by targeting vulnerable elderly? There should be a public outcry over this!

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      2. The Council is offering $50 a year to pensioners off rates. Pensioners have lost the residential aged care they wanted and are faced with increased costs for HACC services and our generous Council offers them 96 cents a week!!! They can buy a cup of coffee every month. Is the Council really expecting the elderly to be appreciative???? What an insult. Yes, there should be a public outcry.

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  3. And this why they refuse to allow live streaming of their meetings or video it for viewing later so the community do not get to see the clown and puppet show! They get away with it! I think we need live streaming keep them transparent and accountable! Shame on them!

    Liked by 2 people

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