‘Unruly’ councillors to be kicked out of meetings if new rule adopted

A decision to give the chair of Hume City Council the right to remove councillors who disrupt meetings will go to public consultation.

Aitken ward councillor Carly Moore proposed that council governance rules be changed to close what she says is a gap that means councillors can’t be removed from the chamber.

The current rules allow the chair to eject any person from a council meeting, other than fellow councillors. On Monday 27 May, she moved that councillors be included in the rule.

“Our community expects and deserves high standards of behaviour from those councillors who have been elected to represent them,” said Cllr Moore.

“I expect that if a councillor is disrupting a meeting or threatening the civility of a meeting then that councillor should also be removed from the meeting.”

Hume councillor Carly Moore.
Carly Moore.

Cllr Moore’s notice of motion follows an incident two weeks ago when mayor Naim Kurt adjourned a meeting when councillors raised numerous points of order and sought clarification of his decisions.

Cllr Sam Misho (Meadow Valley ward) supported the proposed amendment, but conceded he has reservations about it.

“I am not going to deny that I do actually have a concern,” he said. “I see this notice of motion as a long-lasting one that will have consequences on us… The way I see it, this could actually have side effects and backfire.

“The chair in our setting has a vote, and in a heated debate if a chair uses his veto to actually ask a councillor to leave it may disrupt and disable the balance of the chamber, and a vote may be biased.

“I support the vote because everyone spoke in favour of it. I will not hide the fact that I do have some concerns.”

Sunbury councillor Jarrod Bell spoke in support of the proposal saying the speaker in Parliament removes unruly MPs during question time.

Council must follow a process of community engagement before changing its governance rules.

Under Section 60(4) of the Local Government Act 2020, a Council must ensure that a process of community engagement is followed in developing or amending its Governance Rules.

Councillors Trevor Dance and Jodi Jackson did not attend the meeting.