If there’s one thing the world could do without these days, it’s politics without compromise. Our political culture is influenced by the battle between left and right in America more than we’d like to admit. Critics of Todd Muller having a souvenir Trump hat, deliberately overlook that it was adorned with a Hillary badge as well. It’s political point-scoring at its worst; remember when we used to listen to different opinions and not hate people for holding them?

In my observation, we’ve had our own challenges in respectfully considering differing opinions at Council too; that needs to change. In March the Mayor was unanimously censured by councillors after losing his temper, in front of staff, ‘provoked’ by some councillors holding a different view on what was then a 12.7 per cent rates increase.

Last week, a decision about spending $11.1m on improvements to Elizabeth Street was rammed through. Three of my colleagues had their right to speak terminated; without opportunity to represent their constituents’ views nor to convince their colleagues of another alternative. That led to a walkout by three councillors and two others abstaining from voting in protest.

The protest wasn’t just about standing up for colleagues’ right to speak but for yours too. Whenever freedom of speech is trodden on, we’re all damaged. If the Mayor and Councillors won’t listen to each other, how will we listen to our community? It’s my sincere hope that we can put these events behind us and be tolerant and open-minded going forward.

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris