An ACON employee in Lismore was counselled this week for distributing a union newsletter containing material deemed offensive, racist and homophobic.
The Australian Services Union newsletter included concerns about a proposal to locate a women’s health promotion team within the Positive Living Centre.
Staff maintain that it is clearly evident that the PLC is completely inappropriate for women, the newsletter read. Female clients of the project are more likely to be heterosexual, from a NESB [non-English-speaking background] and often feel confronted and offended by gay male clients. The PLC is clearly seen as a positive gay men’s space.
Acting ACON CEO Alan Brotherton told Sydney Star Observer the comment was purely speculative and offended a number of ACON staff.
It seemed to imply the very presence of gay men was offensive -¦ and that people from other cultures were more likely to be homophobic, and in our view, that’s a gross cultural stereotype, Brotherton said.
Brotherton confirmed a number of Lismore ACON staff went on strike when he visited Lismore to speak to the employee, but he denied the meeting was disciplinary.