Fast Buck$, Coorabell.
Last year Byron Shire Council was trying to establish a set of criteria by which a holiday letter could be prosecuted but needed approval from the Department of Planning to bring them into effect.
The department used a trick I hadn’t seen before. They produced a purported ‘legal advice’ from parliament’s lawyers stating that inclusion of proposed criteria A and B would be ‘legal’. However, they had nothing to say about criteria C, D and E, so I, like any normal reader, concluded that the latter must be illegal in some way. Later I realised that the reader had been set up precisely to make this leap of faith; if the inclusion of C, D and E would have made the proposed rules illegal, then why didn’t the legal advice say so and explain why?
More importantly why didn’t the staff report draw the elected councillors’ attention to this defect? Simon Richardson in later debate was angry that a rule that would supposedly be illegal for Byron was okay for one of the other councils in the state, but he failed to draw the obvious conclusion that the department had bullshitted the council, and that the council staff had aided the deception by remaining silent. Indeed when I asked the GM during public questions what this was all about, Simon interrupted to suggest that the GM’s answer would come later, in writing. I angrily pointed out to him that the matter was up for debate today, not at some future time convenient to the GM.
Fortunately the director of planning then got up and easily answered my question. I don’t know why Simon believes it’s his job to protect the GM from legitimate scrutiny. On this I’m on the same page as Tom Tabart.