Time limit on council speeches

TWEED’S most talkative shire councillor Katie Milne has been muffled by new rules aimed at curbing her long speeches and marathon question sessions.

The Greens Party councillor is the target of new time limits, which give councillors less time to talk about major local issues than it takes to boil an egg.

Her fellow councillors voted on Tuesday to limit speeches on issues before the council to three minutes.

Under the strict new Code of Meeting Practice put up by Cr Dot Holdom, a further extension of two minutes is to be granted only if the majority of councillors vote to allow it.

Questions will be also restricted to five queries per councillor. A further limit of 100 words per question applies.

The new rule follows a drawn-out council meeting in January when Cr Milne tabled nearly 50 questions, many with multiple parts.

The limit has infuriated Cr Milne.

“This is another clampdown by Cr Holdom on questions and participation in democracy,” she told the council meeting.

“I don’t understand what your problem is. You seem to be having a problem with the amount of time I speak.

“It’s nine o’clock now – it’s not late. If you can’t handle that ... I question your level of commitment to the council.”

Cr Joan van Lieshout told Cr Milne her actions had prompted the rule change.

“Cr Milne we are all very disappointed we have come to this point, but you have exhausted all of us,” she said.

“I object to that. I’ve been exhausted by you guys,” Cr Milne interjected.

Cr Milne said she was shocked by the restrictions and blamed other councillors for leaving it to her to raise issues.

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