Hume council squabbles over apology

(Damjan Janevski)

Elsie Lange

Councillors fought for more than half an hour about the adoption of last month’s minutes at a Hume council meeting on Monday, April 11, which temporarily forced mayor Carly Moore from her seat as chairperson.

The offending minutes were from a council meeting on March 15, 2022, in which members requested an apology from councillor Trevor Dance regarding breaches of the Hume code of conduct, ordered by an arbiter back in September 2021.

At the council meeting on April 11, councillor Jodi Jackson said the minutes of March 15 did not accurately reflect that Cr Dance had apologised and said she would move the motion to adopt the minutes with amendments.

Cr Jackson said she sought the amendment because the current wording implied Cr Dance did not provide an apology, which she said could be used against him

“I would find that completely unacceptable and intolerable,” Cr Jackson said.

Her amendment was then defeated.

When councillor Joseph Haweil moved to adopt the minutes as printed, he sought to explain the background of the apology and prior breaches of conduct, but was cut short as Cr Jackson called a point of order that he “stick to the motion at hand”.

“What I find quite quite peculiar, strange, interesting in fact, is that we’ve spent quite some time talking about whether council accepted or did not accept an apology issued by Cr Dance,” Mr Haweil said.

“When the real issue is that Cr Dance was found to have breached the Hume city council code of conduct on seven out of eight occasions.”

Cr Moore and Cr Jackson argued about whether Cr Haweil could outline why Cr Dance had apologised, before the mayor dismissed Cr Jackon’s point of order when raised a second time.

That culminated in Cr Jackson dissenting from the mayor’s ruling on the point of order, which forced Cr Moore out of the chair to be taken by deputy chair councillor Sam Misho.

Cr Misho put Cr Moore’s ruling to dismiss Cr Jackson’s point of order to the vote, which was upheld.

After more than 35 minutes of discussion, councillors other than Cr Dance and Cr Jackson voted to adopt the minutes in their original form.