A City of Casey councillor has slammed his colleagues for failing to support a plan to take a stand against homophobic bullying.
The motion by Cr Simon Curtis (pictured) asked the council to speak out against hate and intolerance directed towards the GLBTI community and to include on its website a link to the online anti-homophobia It Gets Better campaign. It also called for councillors to send a video of support. It was defeated by five votes to six.
Curtis criticised the decision of the six councillors, including the Mayor, to reject the proposal.
“I think it’s been a failure on behalf of this council to not pass this motion,” Curtis said.
“If I was a young person in Casey and I was having trouble with some of these issues and I knew this was representative of our city … I certainly wouldn’t feel supported by our community or by my representative in council.
“I was very disappointed to miss getting it across the line.”
Crs Curtis, Judy Owen, Kevin Bradford, Wayne Smith and Lynette Keleher voted for the motion. Crs Shar Balmes, Sam Aziz, Geoff Ablett, Bob Halsall, Amanda Stapledon and Beverley Hastie voted against it.
Mayor Shar Balmes told the Star Observer the council’s support should not be limited to “one section of our community”.
“Read the motion passed following Cr Curtis’ defeated motion and that will tell you exactly how this council is supporting all youth, regardless of what circumstances they are in, regardless of what lifestyle choices they make, regardless of where they are, council supports all youth and condemns all forms of bullying,” she said.
“There are many categories of groups that could be specified. Cr Curtis highlighted one, but there are countless others. It’s really not fair to discriminate against the countless others by only highlighting one.”
Curtis said the lack of support for GLBTI youth was inconsistent with the council’s role to support minority groups and said bullying on the grounds of sexuality should not be tolerated.
“The It Gets Better website is a mainstream website and the interesting thing is, I don’t see myself as a radical, I don’t see this as a radical kind of motion,” he said.
The Casey council area includes the suburbs of Narre Warren, Cranbourne, Berwick and Lynbrook.