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Your views: on gag orders, homeless services, media cuts and happy feet

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Today, readers comment on a city council gag order versus free speech, the funding cut throwing a homeless legal service onto the street, the importance of healthy local media, and the benefits of shopping in a real store instead of online.

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A gag is a gag

Commenting on the story: City council “gag order” legal: Law Society

The proposed ban on the City of Adelaide councillors publicly discussing impending motions is clearly a ‘gag’ order and an attack on free speech.

There are a number of reasons why it should not go ahead and could be subject to legal challenge.

Firstly, the mandated code of conduct anticipates councillors will speak to the media. Code of Conduct for Elected Members item 2.5: Ensure that personal comments to the media or other public comments, on Council decisions and other matters, clearly indicate that it is a private view, and not that of the Council.

Some councils have warned elected members and tried to bluff them that it is only the Mayor who can speak to media. Wrong.

I also think it could inhibit a councillor’s duty under section 59 1 (b) of the Local Govt Act: (b) as a person elected to the council—to represent the interests of residents and ratepayers, to provide community leadership and guidance, and to facilitate communication between the community and the council.

You cannot facilitate  communication with a muzzle on.

There is also the mandated requirements of Section 8 of the Local Government Act: (a) provide open, responsive and accountable government.

There is also the International Convention on Civil and Political rights to which Australia is a signatory: 1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order or of public health or morals.

I think the passing of such a resolution is about as welcome as AFP raids on journalists.

It is censorship, oppression of speech and not what we want our society to be. – Tim Looker

Open doors to homeless

Commenting on the story: Homeless legal service shuts after SA Govt funding cut

I was very sad to read this the day after hearing a terrific (but scary) talk from Alice Clark, Executive Director of ShelterSA, about the plight of homeless people in South Australia.

It emphasised the benefits of CapitalAsset, an initiative of ShelterSA.

The organisation’s website explains that some high-profile South Australians including economists, bankers, architects and developers in industry/business are generously giving their time and intellectual property pro bono to help NGOs use freehold land they aren’t using to build affordable rental properties. Sidestepping Government (in)action.

Sounds like a great initiative – and maybe it will encourage governments – local and State – to rethink their short-sighted and ultimately costly attitude towards this sector of society.

To have insecure accommodation affects so many aspects of a person’s life such as physical and mental health and employment prospects.

Even if you have the blinkered view that their situation is of their own making and they should take responsibility for fixing it, the economically-attuned must surely see the savings to society in the long run of lending a helping hand. Rosemary Cadden

More media, not less

Commenting on the story: City print run, northern delivery scrapped as News Corp rings changes

It concerns me a great deal that many parts of Australia do not get much, if any, local news content.

It is particularly concerning when there appears to be little competition in some locations like Adelaide where there is only one physical paper.

Are there some bigger picture trends that are connected? More job losses outside the major cities, more Syd/Melb centric views, more disaffected people in regional Australia, less reliable polls?

I heard a journalist interviewed about the US election and their major mis-call regarding Donald Trump; one argument was that the media had withdrawn from regional US and therefore had no understanding about the sentiment of many voters and was not aware of, and therefore unable to respond to, the information circulating via social media.

Could Australia be heading the same way?

This article finally prompted me to financially support InDaily.

We need to support local independent journalism before we end up with nothing. – Simone Fogarty

Store buying a shoe-in

Commenting on the story: Online key as SA shoe store sales trip over

I have considered buying shoes online and decided for the same reasons the podiatrist explained: returns are a hassle, getting sore feet because of shoe shape or size issues.

Just these two issues stopped me ever going online.

I like to try on shoes because I can see how they look , judge what are they like to get into, and how they feel when walking.

Some brands will seem to work for your feet, so there’s a better than 80% chance of getting it right when you try brands you know,  versus 50% chance online.

Why take on more risk and hassle? – Neil Fitzgerald

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