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TAS Association Representing Non Members in Local Council - Discrimination?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by Reggie, 23 May 2015.

  1. Reggie

    Reggie Member

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    I live in a small rural area that has a local residents and ratepayers association. This association is a registered incorporated body with a membership list. Not all local residents and ratepayers choose to sign up with the organisation, yet are still very active members of the local community at large.

    The Local Council have been using this organisation to liaise with the residents on a broad range of issues which affect all residents and ratepayers (including non-members of the local organisation ), e.g.: road access, weed control and general community development.

    As relevant topics are then discussed at the organisation's meetings, non-members are excluded from the discussions and are mostly unaware of the outcomes until policy decisions have either already been made or are being voted on at a council level.

    Can the Council legally use this information in its decision-making process (having used it to gauge local feelings on various issues), without having included non-organisation members, or is it discrimination?

    Is the Council legally required to inform all of the locals of the discussions and allow all an equal input?
     
  2. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Hi there Reggie

    Thanks for your interesting question. The following does not address your question in whole however it's a start.

    Government bodies such as councils often liaise with community organisations with paid or unpaid memberships in order to gauge input and attitudes. Members of the general community can choose to participate in these organisations or not. Naturally active citizens will be a bit more in the know about what's going on. A council sometimes canvasses opinions from different bodies, however no it does not have an obligation to ensure that each individual member of the community in general exercises their voice equally and has equal input.

    If any of the above is unclear please say so.
     
  3. Reggie

    Reggie Member

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    Hi Hugh, thank you for your reply. I guess that my base issue is with having to join any, but especially this organisation in order to get the equality of representation; that as a ratepayer, ought be already provided by local council. I was once a member of this organisation, however decided to step away after having met with hostility for questioning membership issues (membership was automatically assumed upon either buying land locally or having resided here for 6 months).

    Not one member had ever been informed formally in any way that they belonged to the organisation, nor had signed any membership papers. Most were unaware that they were members.), and the getting of grants, of which there was no member consultation in any of the process. These issues have since been righted, but not before having caused much stress for myself and many others in the process. I decided that I did not care to endure any more anxiety inducing meetings, and eventually resigned my membership. I am only one of many who have had similar experiences and left the organisation. Now, as a result of not belonging to this community organisation, I have become a 'less active citizen', and a little less in the know and effectively pushed out of the decision making process. This seems unfair, as I have no other reason to join the local organisation, other than representation on council issues.

    Sorry if that's a little long winded, I'll have to have to have a bit more of a think for an effective solution.

    Thank you for your time Hugh.
     

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