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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Stage 4: Making the decision

The fourth stage of the process is when you and your fellow councillors make the decision at formal council meetings.

The Meeting Regulations provide a uniform and comprehensive set of rules for the conduct of council meetings.

The Council Meeting Procedures information sheet provides a summary of the key meeting procedure requirements contained within the Meeting Regulations.  The full Meeting Regulations are available at Tasmanian Consolidated Legislation Online website.

Further to the requirements set out in the Meeting Regulations, you can ensure good decision making by exhibiting appropriate behaviour. For example:

  • You must conduct yourself in a respectful way, including listening to others, avoiding interrupting others, using reasonable language, and avoiding texting or using social media during meetings.
  • Mayors can facilitate good decision making by ensuring that councillors feel that they are part of the process. Mayors can do this by giving everyone at the table an opportunity to get their viewpoint across.
  • If the mayor has moved or seconded a motion, the mayor is to vacate the chair until the motion has been dealt with.
  • You must be sure to focus debate on the content of issues, not on the councillors debating them (play the ball, not the person).
  • In coming to decisions, you are not required to follow the advice provided by councillor officers in reports to the council, but nevertheless should consider it with due respect.
  • You must take voting seriously: being informed, participating in debate and making a decision (except where there is a conflict of interest) are all critical components of good decision making.
  • Councils must be committed to transparency. Observers must be able to follow and understand the decision making process, and the reasons why a particular decision has been made.  Holding the meeting in public is one way that transparency can be achieved. Having a proper debate is another. By observing a debate, onlookers are able to see how and why council came to a decision.
  • Closed meetings should be avoided where possible to preserve transparency and accountability.