THE City of Casey councillor who wanted council to cease promoting anything LGBTI-related has had her proposal derailed after last night’s council meeting was dissolved.

Cr Rosalie Crestani’s motion said sexual orientation was a “private issue”, and that to address it would be “special treatment” when council “should serve all residents equally”.

Her motion also called for council’s public relations department to stop issuing media releases relating to sexual orientation or anything LGBTI-related, that council staff’s LGBTI diversity training should stop, that signs by Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria (GLVH) should be taken down, and that council committees should not be used to promote LGBTI-vested interest.

Speaking to the Star Observer yesterday, Crestani defended her proposal, saying the “special treatment” given to LGBTI people meant they were also “continuing to discriminate against the heterosexual community”.

She said she did not believe one group should be favoured over another, and did not believe LGBTI people were a marginalised group.

According to The Age, at last night’s council meeting, her motion failed to get anywhere after fellow councillors refused to support it.

A counter-motion was then introduced by Deputy Mayor Louise Berkelmans, which re-affirmed council’s position of support for all community groups, including its LGBTI residents.

However, this reportedly prompted Cr Sam Aziz to walk out of the meeting. With four other councillors absent — including Mayor Mick Morland — not enough councillors were present for a vote on the motion nor for the council meeting itself to continue.

As a result, the meeting was rescheduled for Thursday. It is expected that Crestani will make another attempt to have her motion passed.

One councillor, Rafal Kaplon, has since come out of the closet and expressed relief that the motion did not pass.

“From my own experience I know that the [LGBTI] youth of Casey needs support in what can be a very confusing and distressing time in their lives, and I am glad we will continue to provide essential programs and services to all residents that need it,” he said in a media statement.

Kaplon added he was “positive” that Berkelmans’ counter-motion in support of the LGBTI community would be adopted at Thursday night’s meeting.

The Star Observer also understands that Crestani’s original motion could be in breach of Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act.

Yesterday, the City of Casey posted a message on their Facebook page that appeared to distance itself from the personal views of Crestani.

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Melbourne-based LGBTI youth advocacy group Minus18 also expressed concern at Crestani’s motion, especially the impact it could have on young LGBTI people in the suburbs.

“If Cr Crestani’s motion succeeds, it will send a very clear, very loud message to LGBTI young people living in Casey — that your sexual and gender identity is wrong,” partnerships manager Tim Christodoulou said yesterday.

Minus18 also called the motion “a massive step in the wrong direction”, while highlighting it as an isolated incident as many of the organisation’s biggest supporters were from local governments.

Crestani is a member of the Rise Up Australia party and an upper house candidate in next weekend’s Victorian state election.

The City of Casey — located in the south-east of Melbourne’s metropolitan area — is the most populous local government area in Victoria and the seventh most populous in Australia, according to 2011 Census results.


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