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Your views: on a council gag order, and boosting wages and the economy

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Today, readers debate whether a selective gag order harms or benefits councils, and suggest how to kickstart a stalling economy.

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Talking about not talking

Commenting on the story: City council votes to gag itself

Lord Mayor Verschoor’s justifies gagging elected members as being ‘about bringing the business of council back to the chamber‘. 

The business of the city council is about public governance of public resources, and includes the freedom of debate, dissent and discourse of elected representatives through the press, untrammelled by the mere interests or discomfort of any majority bloc.

The business of the city ought to be centred on the city, on its diverse public and the public realm, not a chamber that now rings hollow. – Elbert Brooks

Not allowing councillors to speak to the media prior to a council meeting is being labelled a ‘gag order’ and heralded as unprecedented.

Predictably, those more active councillors are outraged and threatening to ignore the council decision.

Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that this position is neither controversial or unprecedented, as a similar rule was imposed on councillors at the City of Tea Tree Gully between 2010 – 2014.

 Initially, as a councillor at the time I was taken aback by the policy but it actually did make sense for two reasons: 1) the Mayor, according to the Local Government Act, is the primary spokesperson of council and 2) councillors have a responsibility not to pre-empt the debate of a motion and putting ones views into the public domain before the council meeting does exactly that.

It actually worked and the lofty grandstanding which all too often happens by councillors disappeared.

So for goodness sake stop being so petty and get back to discussing the issues that matter, of which there are many. – Todd Hacking

This heavy handed approach should not be tolerated by the Minister.

Unless withdrawn, the council should be removed and a new less top heavy structure put into place.

Better still, significantly increase the boundaries first and then get a new council. Michael Schilling

Lift wages and see what happens

Commenting on the story: No one knows how to fix our broken economic model

Yes it is complex, but instead of spending years to work out exactly what the problem is and what to name it, just jumping in with some simple steps in the right direction might be worthwhile.

There is clearly a lot to be done in regard to low wages and wage growth generally.

Instead of the pitiful increase of about 50c granted recently to the lowest paid workers, an increase of $1 per hour (although still very small) would have given them about $40 per week.

This would inject $2.5 billion per year into the economy via those lowest paid workers. Of course the business lobby groups say they can’t afford such an increase, but they are very short sighted.

Firstly, they do not actually pay the full $1 because it is tax deductible. Secondly, every cent of the increase will, in most cases, go straight back to small business or landlords and will trickle up into bigger business and also into the treasury.

This is a far more effective stimulation of the economy than the coalition tax cuts for the big end of town that supposedly trickle down.

That is a bit of a con because the trickle gets held up in all sorts of ways. Executives get bigger bonuses, cars, houses, yachts and investments, companies pay bigger dividends to large institutions and wealthy shareholders and some of all that money eventually finds its way down to the battlers, if they are lucky.

The trickle down cash only finds its way to the broader economy if those recipients really need to spend it. Mostly they don’t because they already have no problem buying their groceries and paying their power etc bills.

The trickle-up cash is almost entirely spent immediately on all sorts of necessities, thereby helping those who keep insisting they can’t afford to pay higher wages.

Paying a more realistic minimum wage would at least buy some time to get other solutions for the broken economy.

In the meantime, voters could reflect on the irony of the coalition ads that said “weaker economy” under a Labor government.

It’s been getting weaker by the day over 6 years of their government; not to mention the “more debt” which they have doubled in the same period without a GFC.

At least we can sleep well at night knowing that the coalition is better able to manage money, which they shouted at us so much in the election campaign that we must think they believe it and that we should too.

I won’t be holding my breath. David A Bridges

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