Democracy dying a snug, lycra death

BUDGIE smugglers are banned from Fraser Coast Regional Council meetings - despite a ratepayer activist's objections to the council's new dress code.

Fraser Coast Ratepayers Association president Allan Fuary has accused the council of playing "fashion police" over a standing order which states any person deemed to be unsuitably dressed would not be allowed to speak during public participation at council or committee meetings.

He said the standing orders, which became effective in December, were vague, leaving people who wished to participate with no idea of what might be deemed "unsuitably dressed".

Mr Fuary said that under the right circumstances even a pair of Speedos could be considered suitable dress if, for example, the meeting was taking place at the local swimming pool.

But Deputy Mayor George Seymour yesterday put the kibosh on budgie smugglers at council meetings, saying there were no circumstances where the swimwear would be appropriate at a council meeting.

"Leave them at the beach," Cr Seymour said.

Mr Fuary said he feared the council was trying to discourage people from taking part in public participation.

People with low incomes might not be able to achieve a suitable dress standard and so it was important to know what the standard was, he said.

Mr Fuary is also concerned about another order which states: "At the discretion of the Chair, where a participant has previously addressed the council during public participation on an issue, subsequent addresses by the participant on the same issue/s will not be heard".