Crowd behaviour the subject of debate
THE behaviour of the 700strong crowd at last week’s Whitsunday Regional Council meeting in Bowen has been the subject of considerable debate between residents of all parts of the shire.
Mayor Jennifer Whitney, who was booed and heckled throughout the meeting, claims she heard cries of “kill her” and that one of her councillors was spat upon.
The crowd’s anger at the rumoured closure of the Bowen Council chambers and potential loss of staff, spilled over into other aspects of Council’s governance. Bowen resident Christine McNamara was just one of those who had an impassioned say.
“You engage more with the CMC than you do with the people who put you in power,” Ms McNamara said during public question time.
“[And] you have failed your mission statement miserably. You have cried poor since being elected and have used it as an excuse to screw the ratepayers in every possible way.”
At various stages of the meeting, there were calls for the mayor and Cr Jan Clifford to resign, votes of no confidence in the current Council and cries for de-amalgamation and the appointment of an administrator.
Cannonvale resident Faye Chapman, who attended the meeting, described this as the behaviour of a mob, saying she had never witnessed such a disgusting display of bias, hate and ignorance (see letters, Page 8).
Likewise, Whitsunday Ratepayers Association secretary Tony Moscato said the behaviour displayed last week was “not acceptable”.
“Cries of ‘kill her’ – we can’t accept that [and] it’s not help- ing the area,” he said.
Mr Moscato said Bowenbased members of the WRA had expressed embarrassment about what occurred.
“They know people are suffering but at the end of the day, they don’t want to go back to an administration that’s all about mates deals,” he said.
Cr Whitney said the personal attacks were “disheartening”.
“This had the potential to be quite threatening, to the safety of us, the safety of myself - so we do take this quite seriously,” she said.
UNPOPULAR: Council's CEO Scott Waters listened politely while Bowen resident Christine McNamara took the microphone during public question time.
PROTESTING: Des Robertson, Rita Hamilton and Trevor Anderson with anti-Council placards outside the Council Chambers in Bowen.