Opening Up Council Democracy

The Greens have pledged to introduce video streaming of Council meetings and implement an open ‘question time’, as part of an effort to make Council more accessible and responsive to community concerns.

Several Councils in NSW including Warringah already stream their council meetings on the internet.

Greens Councillor Phillips moved in 2009 to follow Warringah’s lead, but it was opposed by Labor and conservative Independent Councillors.

He hopes to introduce the policy again in the next term.

“Streaming Council meetings on the internet means that people with children or busy lives can still watch Council debate and vote on items that interest them,” said Cr Phillips.

“I’d imagine people washing the dishes, or doing the ironing, or watching TV, until their agenda item comes on,”

“A question time would allow residents to attend a council meeting and asks a question of their choice, pertaining to any council matter, during a specific part of a Council meeting.”

“Currently the only matters discussed at council meetings have to be items on the agenda.”

“This question time would allow residents to attend meetings and bring ad hoc issues to the attention of the councillors.”

“This opportunity already exists on a number of councils and provides residents with an excellent forum to bring their ideas and issues directly to all councillors.”

“The Greens have made council more accessible to the community and we will continue to look for new ways to do this,” he said.


  • This is seems like a costly exercise, how many people will really be looking at this. I would much prefer Council funds be spent in better ways. What sort of carbon foot print does this leave? I imagine additional servers and technology would be required. One of the increasing problems these days is people stay cooped up in the home in front of computers, there’s nothing like a good old cimmunity meeting where people get to meet people. Let’s stick to getting the basic right,.

    • There would be little or no carbon footprint if, as planned, the council buys 100% Green Energy. And the technology of streaming to the web has become very simple. you can do it from some of the new smart phones.

      For many the alternatives are not:- tele-attend a meeting from home Vs attend a meeting in person. The choice is more likely to be tele-attend a meeting from home Vs not attend/Watch TV. Use technology to encourage participation in ways that are easy for the participants. If you want to go to the meeting, great. But encourage others to attend any way they can.

      We are way too far into the 21st Century to “go back to basics”. We have people living in Sydney and working in West Australia, all over the world. They could still attend.

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