Greens move to stream council meetings on the internet to improve access and councillor behaviour

Marrickville Greens – media release

6 May 2014 Internet connection

Greens move to stream council meetings on the internet to improve access and councillor behaviour

The Marrickville Greens Councillors will move a motion at the next Marrickville Council meeting to commit Council to live streaming its meetings on the internet saying that such a move will improve public access, increase accountability and hopefully improve the behaviour of councillors.

“Public exposure is often the best way to ensure politicians are acting in the public interest and are behaving to expected standards. The Greens believe extending public access to council meetings via the internet will improve accountability and the behaviour of councillors,” said Greens Councillor Max Phillips.

“Making council meetings available online adds to the options and will mean more citizens take an interest in council meetings or do not have to sit in the public gallery for many hours simply to view the debate on an item that interests them,”

“Other councils in Australia and overseas already stream meetings online and the technology is improving and becoming cheaper every day.  Marrickville Council should come into the 21st Century,” he said.

Greens Councillor Melissa Brooks said: “I have recently raised my concerns about the aggressive and bullying behaviour that is often displayed at council meetings. I am hopeful that should this measure be adopted by council the additional public scrutiny will mean an improvement in behaviour, and more constructive and measured debates.

“The Greens policy is always for greater transparency and public participation because it is more likely to promote behaviour and outcomes that are in the public interest,” she said.

Notice of motion below and attached.

Contact: Cr Max Phillips 0419 444 916  or Cr Melissa Brooks 0409 235 802

Notice of Motion is below and here as a PDF

Councillor Phillips

Streaming Council meetings online

Motion: That Council commit to live streaming council meetings on the internet and/or making video of meetings available on YouTube by September 2014.

Background: Marrickville Council has previously investigated streaming online video of Council meetings.  Given that some time has elapsed and online technology is improving dramatically, it is appropriate that Council revisits the issue.

Increasingly people are going online to look for information and participate in the community.  Council should recognise this and use online technology to facilitate greater understanding and participation in council activities.

Streaming council meetings online can advantage the community by allowing citizens to observe council meetings from their own home or mobile device, and record proceedings.

Many citizens are unable to attend council meetings, even if there is an agenda item of interest, because they have family or work commitments.  Additionally, those that do attend council meetings often have to sit through many hours of non-related items before their item is discussed.

Streaming online means that more citizens will be able to observe Council meetings and make Councillors more accountable to their constituents.

Streaming meetings and the increased public scrutiny that it will bring may also improve the behaviour of councillors in the chamber and the adherence to standing orders.

Other levels of government are filmed and made available either on broadcast TV or via a website live stream.  With improvements in technology and lower costs there is no reason for local government meetings should not also be made available via technology.

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