Speak at a Council meeting
Speaking at Public Forum guidelines
We hold a public forum prior to each ordinary meeting of Council. Any member of the public can request to address the Council on any matter on the agenda of the Ordinary Council Meeting at the Public Forum held on the day of the meeting.
When is the Public Forum
The Public Forum is held at 2:00pm on the day of the Council Meeting.
How can I address the Forum?
Members of the Public can apply to address Council on any item that is on the agenda of the Ordinary Meeting. A person may apply to speak to no more than three (3) items of business at a public forum.
Speakers must be approved by the Mayor. All requests for consideration need to be submitted by 12 noon the day prior to the public forum using the Application - Speaking at a Public Forum form. Council's Executive team will contact you before the meeting to advise of the outcome of your request and provide further information. Before applying, please read the Code of Meeting Practice to ensure you meet the criteria.
The forum will be chaired by the Mayor or their delegate.
Councillors may ask questions of the speaker following their address to clarify any comments made by the speaker.
Tips for making a presentation to Council
The following guidelines will help in preparing a presentation:
- Complete the Application - Speaking at a Public Forum form and confirm you have read these Speaking at a Public Forum guidelines and will abide by the Guidelines and Code of Meeting Practice. Approved speakers will need to be seated in the gallery of the Council Chambers prior to 2:00pm.
- Consider whether you have a matter that needs to be declared (if you are speaking about a development application, the law requires you to declare any political donations that have been made to Councillors within the past two years. Forms are available from Council).
- Keep your address brief and to the point. Speakers are allowed a maximum of three (3) minutes. if you are not use to public speaking, you may want to practice beforehand to see how you go for time.
- Follow the directions of the Mayor. The Mayor (chairperson) has the ultimate say on who can address and will let you know when it is your turn to speak.
- Show courtesy to other speakers. Do not disrupt or interject when other people are making their addresses.
Provision of PowerPoint presentation and written material
PowerPoint presentations and written material are permitted at public forums.
Should you wish to utilise these materials in your presentation/address you must provide the material to the Executive Assistant two (2) days prior to the meeting. This is to ensure that PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, etc. are compatible with Councils system to ensure they function correctly on the day. If you are supplying written information you will need to supply at least 14 copies of the material so it can be distributed to Councillors and staff.
There are certain protocols that apply to a public forum. The correct procedures are:
- You may only speak when the Mayor (Chairperson) invites you to do so.
- When invited to speak, please come forward and using the microphone provided, state your name and the Agenda Item you wish to speak to. You may stand or sit, whichever is more comfortable for you.
- Speakers are not permitted to ask questions of Council, Councillors or staff.
- Whilst the forum is not recorded or minuted it is a public meeting and as such speakers should avoid divulging personal or private information.
- Council will not make decisions regarding your address at the public forum. Matters raised that require the decision of Council will be considered at the Ordinary Council meeting.
- Additional rules/guidelines regarding public forums can be found in Councils adopted Code of Meeting Practice.
Speaking in Public
It is important to remember that if you say something offensive or defamatory at the meeting about another person you may leave yourself open to legal action.
Making a Request to Address Council
- Submit an Application - Speaking at a Public Forum form
Approval to speak will be granted or denied based on a range of factors including but not limited to:
- The nature of the item
- Legislative provisions that may inhibit your request being fulfilled
- The number of requests to speak.