A New Accountability Measure - Report cards on Councillor Attendance and Expenses

Click here to see the video.

May 2022 update.

I am disappointed to report that this reform, which I successfully passed in February, has since been rescinded by a rescission motion brought by the Labor and Liberal Councillors working together. Clearly they are disinterested in accountability of this sort, despite how warmly it was received by the community when I got it through before. They did not articulate any clear reasons why they felt there was new information  that caused them to change their minds. Perhaps they realised that their attendance, expenses and whether they could demonstrate they got value from the conferences the Council pays to send them to made them feel uncomfortable. Further details of this reversal are here. I will continue the fight.


Original March 2022 post:

You're entitled to expect that your elected Councillors turn up to as many meetings as they can. It’s a critical part of our job.

Sadly, I've seen that this hasn’t always been the case. When the Hawkesbury Gazette sought figures on Councillor attendance in 2019, it found fragmented data. I was acknowledged as having among the best attendance records of any Councillor.

I resolved to do what I could to improve accountability.

Legally, Councillors can only be censured if they miss multiple formal Chamber meetings, but in my opinion that accounts for only about a third of what Councillors do. Data is either not collected, or not summarised relating to attendance at briefings, workshops, committee meetings and community consultation sessions.

So, I moved a motion at our Council meeting on February 8th that will cause a report card on Councillor attendance to be presented annually and before elections which covers a wider range of meetings and events that Councillors attend.
In the course of debate, the motion was widened to encompass reporting of Councillor expenses and to demand proof that Councillors got value and shared the knowledge they got out of any conferences we attend, and I thank Councillors for the constructive input that improved the motion.
I was surprised that some Councillors opposed this sensible measure of accountability.
This video summarises the debate, but if you want so see the full remarks of the other Councillors, they're here.