Local government come together to protect democracy

Publish date:

About 100 representatives from councils across the state came together today to discuss the rising levels of unpredictable and disruptive behaviour at council meetings over the last few months.

What’s happened today:

  • The discussion was a MAV members’ briefing for mayors and follows on a CEO briefing about disruption which was run by LGV
  • Councils heard from mayors who have been impacted by these disruptions, VicPol, and an expert in resilient communities to provide the latest information.

Statement from MAV President Cr David Clark:

“The ongoing behaviour we have seen at council meetings is threatening and unpredictable and it has no place in our communities. It shouldn’t be accepted at any level of government. Councils are right to take a zero tolerance approach, as the people most at risk are often other community members who are in the gallery with the disruptive people.”

In our role as the peak body for local government, the MAV brought councils together today to talk about how our sector will continue to uphold local democracy.

Councils are proud to be the level of government most closely aligned to our communities providing everyday Victorians with the opportunity to participate in decision making. The asking of questions of elected officials in real time is not replicated at any other level of government. Local governments take their accountability to their communities seriously.

It was great for our members – all councils – to hear from mayors with first hand experience of disruptive behaviour at meetings. Giving them the opportunity to think about measures they may need to take in future.

Councils are working closely with Victoria Police to ensure appropriate security measures are in place when needed. Today all councils got the chance to hear VicPol’s perspective on the issues and the work it is doing to ensure the safety of our communities, councillors, and council staff.

A key take-out from the meeting was to ensure councils clearly understood the issues they are facing and the need to provide a safe workplace for those working within their organisations. We want our members to have the skills to handle these situations.

Victorian councils are being caught up in what is a global trend of community disruption and we need to act together and consistently in response to these issues”