My Motion - Standing up against Discrimination

The below motion I co-wrote with Councillor Strassberg for the Council meeting on 18th October 2021:

Executive Summary                                           

This Notice of Motion is to show strong support by our council for vulnerable and diverse communities and seeks Council to publicly denounces any form of discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, cultural background, religion, age, and physical or mental abilities.

The proposed motion also seeks that Council actively promotes the graffiti hotline

Background

In September the West Ward Councillors received an email from a concerned and upset resident about some homophobic and racist graffiti. The resident requested the following

“I ask that one of you raise a motion at the next Council meeting to:

  • Have the racist and homophobic graffiti removed (sic which council has done)
  • Condemn racist and homophobic words and actions, including graffiti…”

… I am incredibly disappointed that Council is able to spend time discussing and voting on one particular form of graffiti, but swastikas and homophobic slurs do not warrant any action or discussion.”

Other distressing reported acts of discrimination in Lane Cove are;

  • August 2017 – Dozens of tires slashed after a performance by Lane Cove Theatre Company
  • July 2019 – Racist attack Longueville Resident
  • August 2019 – Ten cars tires slashed after a performance by Lane Cove Theatre Company
  • September 2019 – Racist attack in Lane Cove Village
  • November 2020 – Nazi post on Lane Cove Dog Lovers Association Facebook
  • May 2021 – Rainbow Flag, car tires slashed, and graffiti sprayed on the street in front of a home in Riverview
  • July 2021 – Nazi Graffiti throughout Batten Reserve on trees and rock wall
  • August 2021 – Nazi and homophobic graffiti in Ludowici Reserve

Images related to the reported acts above are included in the attachment to this report.

Discussion

With the higher levels of mental health issues and suicide in such communities is well documented, every bit of support that can be offered will help.

People need to feel that they are empowered and safe to speak up against racism, homophobia crimes in our community, particularly given the seemingly increased instances of it.

RECOMMENDATION

That Council: -

1.   Publicly denounces any form of discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, cultural background, religion, age, and physical or mental abilities,

2.   Council actively promotes the graffiti hotline, and

3.   Discuss with the Police Local Area Command to identify areas of concern, and actions that council can undertake to educate, be tolerant of each other and support all members of our community.