Council’s mobile phone hangups | Sad Santa deflated again | Radio rumours | Captain Whoever

In this week’s InSider, city councillors debate the big issue of our time, festive cheer peaks in Rundle Mall, a Mix of speculation about a breakfast team, and a horrible history lesson in state parliament.

Dec 01, 2023, updated Dec 01, 2023
Image: James Taylor/InDaily

Image: James Taylor/InDaily

To text or not to text – that is the question

Should Adelaide City councillors be looking at and using their phones during council meetings?

A suggestion that they should not prompted nearly 30 minutes of debate on Tuesday – more time than on any other issue.

Councillor David Elliott argued that the public expects elected representatives “to be actively engaged in discussion and decision-making”.

“It is only when members are properly engaged that they can be expected to actually listen to their colleagues, understand fully the decisions being made and appropriately take on board advice being shared,” he said.

Fair enough, although it should be noted that Elliott hasn’t been averse to sending InDaily’s council correspondent the odd mid-meeting text (and long may that continue!).

The subsequent debate went – as things often do at Town Hall – a bit off the rails.

Elliott proceeded to make an extraordinary accusation that other councillors were, through their mobiles, “being targeted and taking direction from people outside the chamber willing to influence their decisions”.

“When members are taking direction from people on their phones, they are not present in the debate and there is no stable claim that they are making sound decisions,” he said, claiming this was an “ongoing problem”.

Elliott’s two-part motion was then added to by councillor Carmel Noon, who went a step further to recommend that mobiles are “removed from access” when council holds confidential meetings.

“When we go in-camera… it disturbs me when people are clicking on their phones,” she said, adding: “We’re in confidence and we’re not supposed to actually be talking to anybody.”

Noon prepared exceptions to the rule lest any councillors be unreachable in an emergency.

“If Members of Council are expecting an emergency call and or have commitments that require them to be contactable they are to advise the Presiding Member prior to the meeting of Council to seek authorisation to access their mobile,” Noon’s motion read.

Queried how one can “expect” to receive an emergency call (life emergencies have a habit of being unexpected), Noon clarified: “If you’re expecting an emergency, I think you politely can say basically I need access to my phone during this period of time if it’s an emergency.

“I mean there’s a logic, common sense to all of this.”

We’ll take Noon’s word for it. Councillor Arman Abrahimzadeh was less convinced, suggesting councillors were being treated like school students.

In the end, the council had a bob each way – approving Noon’s idea to restrict access to phones in confidential meetings but rejecting the “expecting an emergency call” exception.

Elliott’s push to prevent councillors from sending texts during meetings was successful, although another idea to limit councillors’ use of work tablets to council business was not.

The proposed meeting procedure changes still need to go through a committee process before they’re formally adopted.

Liberal Party councillor Henry Davis has already indicated he won’t comply with whatever is ratified.

“If this is passed, I’ll declare to you right now you can throw me out as many times as you want but I’m going to keep doing it,” he told councillors.

“You can do what you like to me, but I will continue to use my phone. I personally consider this to be ultra vires – you have no control and jurisdiction over the way and function with which I perform my duties.

“Good luck to you all, and I wish you well with your newfound policy.”

Sad Santa feels deflated – again

While councillors were focused on their mobiles, they should have had their eye on the real issue – namely the fickle fate of Rundle Mall’s embattled inflatable Santa.

InSider spotted the sad St Nick in deflated distress again on Wednesday – this time covered by a garbage bag-coloured tarpaulin in a standout display of Christmas cheer. They didn’t even put tinsel on his bodybag.

Santa spreads festive season cheer again this week. At least they didn’t use crime scene tape. Photo: InDaily

Evidently, last week’s deflation which prompted new perimeter roping, a security camera warning and a sign saying “do not sit or jump on Santa” – all of which just screams Christmas for the kiddies – hasn’t guaranteed the big beardy one will stay upright (although Tuesday’s big wet might count as mitigating circumstances).

InSider is pleased to report that the PSI-challenged Santa was back up and running by Thursday.

The big guy has been reinflated – but for how long? Photo: InDaily

Whether he can survive a third deflation before Christmas without Mall management (literally) pulling the pin remains to be seen. Here’s ho-ho-hoping. It’s going to be a long month.

In or out of the Mix?

Frenzied radio rumours were set off this week when Ali Clarke was an unexpected absence from her breakfast show on Mix 102.3.

The show was due to finish up for the year today, but Clarke hasn’t been on air since Monday.

Speculation centred around the potential replacement of Clarke’s show with the low-rent but highly successful Sydney-based Kyle and Jackie O Show – which will be syndicated into Melbourne from next year.

Despite reports in another media outlet today, Mix owner ARN Media has squashed the rumours, telling InDaily that Kyle and Jackie won’t be taking over Adelaide breakfast in 2024.

With family commitments interstate this week, and after a huge year which saw the show reach #2 last survey, we decided to finish the show up early,” an ARN spokesperson said. “We’re all looking forward to a great 2024.”

Clarke referred queries to ARN.

The network has a lot on its plate, including an attempted takeover of rival Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the SAFM and Triple M stations in Adelaide.

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ARN has also been dealing with its national chief content director facing court on assault charges involving his former partner.

According to interstate reports, Duncan John Campbell appeared in Sydney Downing Centre Local Court yesterday after pleading not guilty to two charges of common assault, being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence, and destroying property.

He entered a guilty plea to one count of common assault and prosecutors withdrew the remaining three charges.

Have a Captain Cook at this

Even by the Legislative Council’s weird standards, debate this week on changes to South Australia’s public holiday regime was comically bad.

The Labor Government, with cross-bench support, successfully added Easter Sunday to the list of the state’s public holidays, bringing penalty rates to a stack of Sunday workers and raising questions about whether businesses could afford the extra impost.

The Liberals threw in some amendments of their own, including a failed attempt to cancel the public holiday on Easter Saturday as a quid pro quo, and another designed to enshrine January 26 as Australia Day in the state legislation, which names fixed public holidays by dates not names (queue culture wars).

On the national day, Liberal MLC Heidi Girolamo got herself into some weeds under sceptical questioning from SA-Best’s Connie Bonaros and Green Tammy Franks.

We’ll let Hansard take it from here.

BONAROS: What is the mover concerned is going to happen that has brought about the need for this amendment?

GIROLAMO: In regard to this bill, we feel that this is an opportune time, given the changes that are coming through for the Public Holidays Bill, to ensure that Australia Day remains on 26 January to recognise when Captain Cook first came through—

FRANKS: Captain Cook!

GIROLAMO: Captain Phillip. In regard to this—

Members interjecting:


GIROLAMO: Captain Phillip, Sydney Cove in New South Wales — thank you very much. In regard to this, we need to make sure that we—

Members interjecting:

The CHAIR: Order!

GIROLAMO: Maybe this is an indication that there should be more education on this within South Australian schools.

Maybe Heidi. Maybe.

The amendment was lost. Bonaros voted with Labor against it – her SA-Best colleague Frank Pangallo voted in favour.

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