Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, sporting a pair of red socks added a splash of color and sartorial elegance and fashion in what was otherwise a boring Council meeting. (This addition to Robert’s attire is solely due to the influence of his wife and should not be seen as a political statement)
There were only three items for public discussion on the Council’s agenda, non of which were controversial or contentious. Richard Foster’s Citywide Smoking ban was not listed for discussion.
Do as I say not what I do.
Maverick City Councillor, Stephen Mayne, still has not raised or addressed issues in relation to open transparency and the need for Council meetings to be open to the public. The Council continues to hold secret behind closed doors Councillor Forum meetings and decisions made under Council delegation are not reported. Complaints forwarded to the State Local Government Inspectorate in relation to the City Council’s non compliance with section 89 of the Local Government Act are still pending review.
Melbourne’s Smokers cam rest assured that the City will not impose a blanket outside ban on smoking. Cr Richard Foster’s propsed smoking ban had no support and the issue was not included for discussion on tonight’s Council agenda.
Discussion with various Councillors it was made clear that Foster did not have any support. The Council would not be imposing a local law that they can not police or implement. Instead of the big bother heavy handed approach Council would embark on a more passive educational exercise to try and discourage smokers from lighting up. The Council may extend non-smoking areas to Council managed property, kindergartens, playgounds and the like but smoekers will not be targeted in a blanket city ban.
Richard Foster who is a member of the ALP was not endorsed by the Party and the proposed citywide smoking ban is not ALP policy. Foster has no mandate for his proposal. A proposal, if implemented, that could cost the ALP two inner city Federal seats at the next Federal election. (Melbourne and Port Melbourne)
So outraged at the push and shove approach of the City Council there were plans to mobilize city smokers in what would have been a firestorm of protest. A campaign that would have called on the State Government to remove or subject to legislative oversight the establishment of local laws with the State Government and Governor in Council having the final say and right of veto of any proposed local law that is enacted that compromised state interests Calls for tighter limitations on Council’s right to impose restrictive laws in isolation or with-out a referedum. A proposal that, if adopted, would hamstring all municipalities in passing local laws.
The Foster Smoking ban would have had a negative impact on public health campaigns and made their job that much harder.
Richard Foster having had his citywide ban extinguished is now expected to change tact in order to save face. He will seek to have selective bans imposed instead, but never the less his grandstanding proposal will leave a stain on his reputation.