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Laurel Lloyd-Jones - 14 October 2014

Laurel Lloyd-Jones made the following comments in Non Agenda Public forum at the Ordinary Council Meeting on 14 October 2014.

Your Honour the Mayor, elected Councillors, staff and members of the public,

You all may or may not be aware that many members of your community – the community that you are called to serve, have gathered outside these Chambers today. Many have carried banners outlining their concerns. Many have now joined this meeting.

I have come here today to address you, our Councillors, wearing my Franciscan habit as my banner and my standard bearer. It may seem very quaint to some however it is my clear statement of the values that I hold dear and which I uphold. Saint Francis of Assisi saw the sanctity of every creature and every aspect of nature and he sought to care for it out of kinship and deep respect for all life without the need to dominate it, exploit it, or control it.

I wish to address the importance of the role that you as Councillor hold.

In accepting the position of Councillor you undertook a position of high responsibility – one of public office and the responsibility that this carries.

You were called to leadership; you were called to your civic duty and engagement so as to protect the rights and safety of all people in our community. You were called to address what is first and foremost "for the public good". You were called to determine policies which seek the very best for the community and to refuse those policies and institutions that do not serve that higher purpose.

Currently before you is the need to make a far-reaching and ethical decision on behalf of us all, as you decide on the application before you from the proponents of recreational hunting to now allow the sale of guns and ammunition to be sold at their annual Arms Fair in Narooma.

I believe that this is of such grave importance to our community that we must call forth in each one of our councillors their responsibility to their civic duty. To emphasise their moral duty to our community. I call upon you to connect to your humanity, your leadership and to your greater intelligence on this issue.

This is not a decision for claims such as "as it isn't illegal we cannot oppose this application" – this is a call for you to make a moral choice for this community.

When you were elected you were not asked to leave your morals or intelligence at the Chamber's doorstep. You were called to represent the highest ideals of our community not the desires of hunters that would place our people at greater risk. You were called under the Local Government Act to always firstly consider the social effects on a community, and especially in regard to children. This must be paramount as you make this decision. It must be considered over and above any perceived financial gain that exploiting the sale of weapons might bring.

No doubt you will have received many supportive submissions from hunters from all over Australia (and even from overseas due to the ease of electronic media) however those people who support the sale of weapons will not be the ones who will vote to elect the next Councillors of this Shire. I would encourage all councillors to consider this aspect when they make the decision whether they allow the sale of guns at HuntFest. It will be the residents and ratepayers of this shire who will place their votes at the next election, not the far-flung supporters who currently are providing submissions supporting this application.

I make this plea to you all, on behalf of so many concerned residents of this Shire, for you to act wisely; to discern with leadership, to uphold the directives of the Local Government Act especially in regard to protecting the welfare of children; and to act with moral courage within your civic responsibility.

Thank you.

Sister Laurel Claire (Lloyd-Jones) lfsf

Community of The Little Followers of Saint Francis