Councillor’s sobering request

Councillor Marcus Cornish
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It’s probably the most bizarre press release issued by a Councillor all year.

Marcus Cornish is concerned that “half cut decisions” could be made by other Penrith City Councillors after consuming alcohol before meetings.

Cr Cornish said that before Council meetings, Councillors enjoy a dinner together where some treat themselves to two or three glasses of red wine.

“I only drink water now, but I used to have one when I first got there and I just about go to sleep… I thought it was ridiculous, it was stopping me from being alert,” he said.

“How can people function when they have two or three glasses of red wine?”

Cr Cornish said these “half-cut decisions” could affect around 200,000 people in the Penrith Local Government Area.

“I question some decisions that are being made. How can you make decisions for 200,000 people, and drinking alcohol prior to it?” he asked.

“Common sense has got to come into things, decisions should never be made that way.”

Cr Cornish addressed a Council meeting on Monday night, and requested the consumption of alcohol be banned prior to public meetings, and that it be added to the Code of Meeting Practice.

“We don’t let people drive a car under the influence of alcohol, but we let the people at the wheel of our Council do so,” Cr Cornish said.

“We need to bring Council in line with every other organisation in this country.”

Cr Cornish said while alcohol consumption is acceptable at receptions and other social occasions, the community expects decisions are made unaffected by alcohol.

Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler dismissed Cr Cornish’s comments, and said he does not think alcohol consumption has impacted on any decisions that Council has made.

“Absolutely not. People sit down and have a meal and a glass of wine, some have juice, some have soft drink, some have spirits, it doesn’t have any impact,” he said.

“For Cr Cornish to make a request like this is wasting the time of Council officers in doing something that is frivolous and irrelevant.

“Cr Cornish would be better advised to getting back to really representing the people of Penrith rather than just creating a headline for himself.”

– Dale Drinkwater

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