Councillor gets ejected from meeting
DEBATE got heated and a councillor was ejected from Tuesday’s Livingstone Shire Council meeting before a crucial vote ended a long-running saga.
Councillors were discussing a controversial development application for land on Bungundarra Road when Cr Glenda Mather took exception to a comment made by fellow councillor, Jan Kelly.
The couple behind the application to subdivide the land, Colin and Monica Roebuck, had been fighting for more than three years to get council approval and on Tuesday they sat in the public gallery as the drama unfolded.
All seven councillors had spoken on the matter and indicated which way they were going to vote when Cr Kelly said: “Today we have non-qualified elected members prepared to support the current application and vote against the qualified officer’s recommendation”.
Cr Kelly knew that a weight of numbers around the council table was about to see councillors’ vote go against their officer’s report which had been highly critical of the Roebuck’s proposal and recommended it be rejected on numerous grounds.
Cr Mather fired straight back at Cr Kelly, who had earlier in the meeting made the same remark but been ordered to retract it by Mayor Bill Ludwig.
“Point of order, Mr Chairman, that’s derogatory,” Cr Mather said in response to Cr Kelly’s comment.
When Cr Ludwig stepped in to adjudicate and while he was speaking, Cr Mather interrupted saying: “We are qualified to sit here, Mr Chairman. We are qualified to sit here”.
Cr Ludwig said he would let Cr Mather’s comment “go through” but he warned her for the second time about interjecting when he had the floor.
Cr Mather continued speaking.
Cr Ludwig attempted to stop her by saying: “Councillor, that’s the third time. Do you wish me to ask you to leave the meeting?
“Councillor, would you resume your seat then and let the councillor (Kelly) finish her debate.
“There’s a code of conduct, it’s basic...”
A fired up Cr Mather interjected: “Well Mr Chairman, it goes both ways”.
By this stage Cr Ludwig’s patience had run out and he said: “Councillor, that’s number three, I’m going to ask you to leave, I’m sorry”.
Before exiting the meeting, Cr Mather accused Cr Ludwig of having a “biased attitude at this table” to which he replied: “Can you please leave the table?”.
Cr Mather had strongly supported the Roebuck’s application but her ejection meant that she could not vote on it.
Ultimately that did not affect the result as only Crs Kelly and Nigel Hutton sided with the council officer’s recommendation to reject the Roebuck’s application.
Councillors Ludwig, Wyatt, Belot and Eastwood got the application across the line but it will be subject to conditions being put in place and further ratification from the council.