A local law has been created by Council to facilitate the good governance of the Council through its formal meeting procedure. This Local Law governs the proceedings of all Council Meetings by prescribing the rules and protocols for proper meeting conduct and debate. It is typical of meeting procedures used by local governing authorities and is based on the Westminster Parliamentary system.
In respect to the debate on an item on the meeting agenda and the making of decisions at a meeting the following procedure is followed.
The Mayor will introduce each item of business by reading out the item number and the title of the item. A Councillor will then move a motion. Generally the motion will be to:
- move the Officer's Recommendation in the Council agenda for that item; or
- move an Officer's Alternative Recommendation; or
- move an alternative motion; or
- move a procedural motion.
The Mayor will indicate who has seconded the motion. If there is no seconder the motion lapses. (Another motion can be moved. If nothing is moved nothing further happens with the item.)
Upon the motion being seconded, the Mayor will invite the mover of the motion and then the seconder of the motion to speak. They may speak or decline the opportunity to speak.
The Mayor will then invite speakers for and against the motion. During this process any Councillor can move an amendment (or give notice of their intention to move an alternative motion, if the motion being considered is not adopted.)
If an amendment is moved the Mayor will call for a seconder. If there is no seconder, it lapses and the original motion is debated. If seconded, the mover and seconder of the amendment are invited to speak and then other Councillors are invited to speak for and against the amendment. When there are no more speakers the Mayor puts the amendment to the vote. If the amendment is adopted it forms part of the motion. If the amendment is defeated it is finished with.
The Mayor will then proceed to deal with the original motion (with or without amendment). Further speakers can be heard on the motion. When there are no more speakers the mover of the motion is invited to close debate. (This is known as the right of reply.)
The Mayor then puts the motion to the vote. The motion can be carried or defeated. If defeated an alternative motion can be moved.
Before the Mayor calls on the next item of business supplementary motions can be moved. These are motions that do not change what has been decided but merely add to it.