Opinion: Democracy for the people


DEAR News Of the Area

DR Jan Strom (Coffs Coast NOTA, March 12 Edition) correctly reminded us of our democratic government’s virtues quoting the letter of the law on our Mayors right to exercise a casting vote.

On balance, please consider the spirit of the law, as practised by international convention.

At times the law runs contrary to common sense.

Dickens wrote two centuries ago, “The law is an ass.”

A Chairperson’s right to exercise the casting vote is not mandatory – it is discretionary. By international convention the exercise of this privileged second vote rests heavily on the Chairperson’s conscience.

When they do so, they are called upon to ensure that they preserve the majority wishes of the people.

Last April the British Parliament voted on BREXIT, the most significant financial crisis in modern English history.

An equal vote was about to render the motion lost.

Respecting this convention’s principle, the Speaker of the House gave a detailed explanation of why he used his discretion to vote in the negative to maintain the status quo.

On the Cultural and Civic Space issue, 15000 citizens signed a petition to pause and over 800 submitted written objections to the State Planning Authority.

It is folly to disregard such a public outcry by ignoring the spirit of this principle practised by democratic governments.


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