Labor’s push for Sydney’s LGBTI vote hit a roadblock at a City of Sydney Council meeting on Monday night as more than a hundred people gathered in the public gallery and chalked rainbows on the footpath in front of Sydney Town Hall to show their support for a rainbow flag in Taylor Square.
While motions expressing council’s support for marriage equality and calling on all major parties to allow their parliamentarians a conscience vote on the issue were passed unanimously, council voted against Labor councillor Linda Scott ‘s plans for a rainbow flag’s immediate installation at Taylor Square. They decided instead to send the proposal to a public forum for consultation.
Scott accused Lord Mayor Clover Moore of voting to “bury the proposal”, noting that Moore said a rainbow flag in Taylor Square was worth investigating in 2005 and that “we have seen no action on it since”.
At the same meeting Liberal councillor Christine Forster moved that council should “consult with local business owners, community and residents groups” about other potential rainbow installations, such as a flag or painting a council-owned building.
Last Friday, Scott announced Labor’s plans for a rainbow flag at the top of Oxford St to replace the short-lived rainbow crossing.
Flanked by federal health minister Tanya Plibersek and NSW opposition leader John Robertson, Scott said she was confident other councillors would get on board. While she claimed the proposal aimed to “set politics aside,” no non-Labor figures were invited to attend the announcement.
“This area has a proud history in the fight for equality, and we want an enduring signal that can be seen across the city,” Scott said.
Robertson, who has a gay son, said he was “very proud” to be supporting Scott’s motion.
“We ought to have a lasting acknowledgement of the struggle for equality that started here many years ago and the strength of this community. I would envisage a flag as big as the Australian flag over Darling Harbour, something that can be seen over the city,” Robertson said.