Council not the place for emotion

PROTESTERS will not only get the boot from Tweed Shire Council’s public gallery, but will not get past first base if Cr Dot Holdom has her way.

Cr Holdom has thrown her support behind a get-tough approach to protesters whom some councillors say intimidated them and other people sitting in the public gallery at a council meeting nearly three weeks ago.

Mayor Warren Polglase has warned he may clear the public gallery if council meetings are again interrupted by jeering and interjections.

Cr Holdom says the new rules may need to also apply to cardboard placards waved by protesters, which in some cases last month were “defamatory and derogatory”.

She warned such protests, along with interjections, disrupted councillors’ “train of thought”.

“When there are people yelling out from the gallery and saying defamatory or derogatory things, when there are signs that are defamatory or derogatory ... that’s not the way you do it,” she said.

“I need to really concentrate and so do the other six people (councillors).

“That sort of disruption throws your train of thought.

“You’ve got to have respect. There should be a level of self-responsibility.”

Cr Holdom said councillors should listen to the public prior to meetings, and at the monthly community access meeting, but when it came to the formal monthly council meeting rules had to be followed.

At that meeting she said she was “not there to engage the public” but “to engage the councillors” and listen to each point of view.

“If love, emotion and passion solved the problems of the world, all the prob- lems would be solved already,” she said.

Last month Cr Polglase warned security guards would be called to clear the public gallery if protesters again disrupted or tried to intimidate councillors.

At the most recent council meeting supporters of Greens Party councillor Katie Milne applauded her comments and jeered other councillors.

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