Councillor Jasmine Berry had an ugly online fight with one of her colleagues because she felt she had been characterised as racist – and now she has resigned.
Councillor Jasmine Berry had an ugly online fight with one of her colleagues because she felt she had been characterised as racist – and now she has resigned.

Councillor resigns after online racism slur

Mitcham councillor Jasmine Berry has resigned after an online spat with a fellow elected member that she described last week as "absolutely awful".

Mrs Berry was singled out by Cr Karen Hockley in a Facebook post for leaving the council chamber while she was trying to put up a motion in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mrs Berry felt she had been unfairly slurred by implications of racism in the post.

Mrs Berry, whose father died in the December Cudlee Creek bushfire, later replied to the post that she had left at the meeting's designated finishing time and any suggestion she was racist was "disgraceful slander".

She has declined to comment on her resignation.

Mitcham is already dealing with accusations of bullying and intimidation among elected members after a string of emails this month revealed tensions between councillors.

Cr Hockley said she "always valued" Mrs Berry's input on the council and had been "excellent to have there because she added some diversity".

"She was distressed, apparently, by some of the comments made on social media," Cr Hockley said.

"She wasn't able to indicate which comments on my page, but she said there were comments on some of the shares that were particularly hurtful and I understand that can be difficult to shoulder.

"Unfortunately, I don't think it was the only reason."

In a written statement, Mayor Heather Holmes-Ross said Mrs Berry had been a "productive and dedicated elected member and worked incredibly hard to represent both her ward and the City of Mitcham as a whole".

In her Facebook post, Cr Hockley complained that her motion calling on federal ministers to implement recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody could not be debated because several councillors left the meeting early.

She named councillors Lindy Taeuber, Jane Bange and Berry as those who walked out as she was speaking, leaving no quorum and resulting in the meeting closing three minutes early.

Former councillor Stephen Fisher had also resigned earlier this year due to ill health.

Originally published as Councillor resigns after online slur


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