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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Distracting from responsible governance

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Is Cr Rose Wanchap’s wardrobe malfunction at a recent Byron Shire Council meeting merely a ‘distraction’ from ‘responsible governance’? I would argue that the two are inextricably linked.

An elected representative throwing any kind of missile at the public gallery is seriously out of kilter with adult, let alone, responsible behaviour. While the first shoe went wide (much like a delivery from John Howard) I understand the second one came within a foot (no pun intended) of striking the man sitting next to the apparent target, Jim Beatson. The Byron Shire Echo singled out Beatson, somewhat disparagingly, but he was merely one among many at the meeting who were all quite vocal in their dismay at what was happening.

Which brings us to the second point. The gallery was full because many people in the Shire are distressed at the hijacking of our local democratic processes by Cr Wanchap’s now well documented defection.

‘Responsible governance’ was the topic in an Echo Editorial on 14 October 2014 under the heading ‘Resignation Please’. I quote: ‘The extent of the damage caused by Cr Wanchap’s decision [to abandon the Greens] is hard to overestimate…[while supporting] inappropriate development will cost far more than a by-election.’

Many politicians change parties but manage to keep their core values intact. It would seem however that Cr Wanchap is now completely at odds with her pre-elections views. In her election video [above] she aspired to be be ‘like Bob Brown’ and ‘keep our Byron as beautiful as it is’ .

Cr Wanchap was elected as part of the Greens ticket with 3,448 Greens preferences and only 31 votes below the line (her personal tally). When people feel betrayed they can get angry too.

Paul Davies, Suffolk Park


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