Council has a policy directed by the Local Government Act that determines how Council Meetings are run. Here is what you can expect if you attend a Council Meeting.
At the start of the meeting, the General Manager will asks everyone to stand as the Mayor enters the Council Chamber. The Mayor delivers a prayer to the meeting and acknowledges the traditional owners of the land. After this everyone sits down.
The Mayor calls the meeting to order and introduces the individual parts listed on the meeting agenda. The meeting then runs in the order the agenda sets out for the first nine items. At Item 10 the Mayor invites the Councillors to nominate which items they wish to defer or refer on to a Ward of Full Council Inspection Committee Meeting. These items won’t be dealt with at the current meeting.
People attending the meeting can request that an item be discussed early in the meeting by asking at the desk located immediately outside the Council Chamber. The Mayor asks those who made such a request which item they want Council to deal with next. The items nominated by the public are then dealt with.
The Mayor then asks the Councillors which items they wish to discuss separately. Items which have not been previously dealt with and which are now nominated are adopted in accordance with the report’s recommendations.
Normally discussion on an item starts with one of the Councillors moving a motion, which is then seconded by another Councillor. If a Councillor disagrees they may move an Amendment, which also must be seconded. The Councillor moving a motion speaks for up to five minutes, and then the Councillor moving an amendment can speak for up to five minutes. After they have spoken other Councillors can speak for up to five minutes. After everyone has been heard the Councillor who moved the motion sums up the debate for another five minutes. No new information should be introduced.
The Mayor now puts the issue to vote. If there is only a motion, then the Mayor asks for the Councillors to vote either FOR or AGAINST the motion.
If there is a motion and an amendment, first the amendment is voted on. If it is carried it becomes the motion. If it is lost, and all subsequent amendments are lost, then the original motion is voted on. If carried, it becomes a decision of the Council.
All voting decisions are recorded in the Minutes of the meeting.
Some items may be deemed Confidential by law. These items are considered at the end of the meeting while the press and public are excluded. Once this is concluded the open meeting is re-opened and the decisions are made public.
After the last item there are questions. This time allows each Councillor to submit questions in writing in relation to Council’s responsibilities. These questions are referred to a Council Officer who provides a written reply by the next convenient meeting.