Resident prevented from speaking at a public meeting
A Council prevented someone from speaking at a public meeting. The Council’s actions were not compatible with the Victorian Human Rights Charter. They apologised to the person and amended their policies.
What was the case?
Richard told us a regional Council had denied his rights to free expression and to participate in public life, when they prevented him from speaking at a public meeting. He also said the Council had not explained its decision to him.
We asked the Council whether it had ‘limited’ Richard’s rights without explaining why. We also asked whether it could show its decision was ‘demonstrably justified’, as required by the Human Rights Charter.
We told the Council it was incorrect when it told Richard its policy for public meetings superseded human rights policies. The Charter says it is ‘unlawful for a public authority to act in a way that is incompatible with a human right or, in making a decision, to fail to give proper consideration to a relevant human right’.
The Council’s CEO acknowledged that it was inappropriate to deny Richard an opportunity to speak. The CEO apologised to Richard and said the Council would amend its policy on asking questions at public meetings.