View on new approach

Hans Paas, Castlemaine

Having just returned from a week away I was surprised to read the article regarding the broadcast of meetings of Mount Alexander Shire ‘Council to live stream meetings’ (Express 2/4).
As people who follow local government in our shire may think, I believe the effective decision making body is the ‘confidential briefing’ held before the official council meetings.
It therefore seems very appropriate that the scripted and carefully produced meetings that the council want the public to see are now an added viewing option for residents in the comfort of their own homes.
This will re-enforce what I see as an illusion that residents are witnessing their councillors wrestling with the issues of the moment and resolving them before their very eyes.
The truth is a lot less benign. All of the information, expertise and advice councillors to base their decisions on are provided during meetings behind locked doors. Some questioning of that advice is kept secret from the public.
So by the time we watch the theatre that is the official council meeting, all the actors know their parts.
Let’s be clear, the content that will be streamed is, in my belief, a carefully edited presentation that gives the illusion of democracy in action. I think I’ll stay with my usual viewing line-up and wait for the mini-series.

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