In a long career of attending meetings, I have to say that last week I, and a large number of other concerned people, witnessed what must have been one of the most ridiculous 'public' meetings on record.
I've heard the first meeting of the Hilltops Council described as a 'success'.
Most people who attended the meeting at Harden would, I think, have a far different conclusion.
We sat there, in stony silence, while the Acting General Manager and the Administrator engaged in a meaningless and barely audible exercise which had little direction or purpose.
I had expected, that surely, as some concession to the democratic process, that questions would be invited prior to the conclusion of the meeting, but, no, we were all dismissed with the instruction that there was to be a 'closed' meeting.
As part of the charade, we were earlier asked to observe a moment's silence for deceased residents.
That caused one person present to mutter: 'what about the death of democracy.'
All attending were respectful and well behaved, and the meeting did not develop into a riot like a similar one held in Sydney on the same night, but nevertheless, I'm sure that many were disgusted that such a travesty of a 'public' forum should occur in a supposedly liberal democratic society.
I think all who attended wondered why they had been invited to attend a 'public' meeting, about which there was nothing 'public' at all.
Like many, I would be interested to know how the committees of community representatives from each former council area are going to be selected.
My expectation is, in conformity with current State Government policy, that in the selection of these committees priority will be given to 'Yes' men or women.
In other words, those who won't question in any way the trashing of our democratic values.
Also I wouldn't be surprised if efforts might be made to ensure that councillors elected in September, 2017, might fit the template favoured by the Minister for Local Government.
The challenge for ordinary ratepayers of Boorowa, when a return to some form of democratic process takes place next year, to endeavour to ensure that the one or perhaps two representatives from this area are people prepared to stand up for this district rather than merely allowing themselves to become instruments of a totalitarian State Government.
If ever there was a need for 'people power' to kick in to restore democratic values, it is NOW.
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