Mayor refuses to remove petition lining gays with pedophilia
BRISBANE Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has refused to remove a petition from council's website that links the LGBTIQ community with pedophilia, insisting he is not "the censor-in-chief".
The debate came as Brisbane City Council met for the first time since a protest against a drag queen storytime session at Brisbane Square Library last month.
After the vote, members of the public gallery, which included drag queens, called out "shame" before being asked to be quiet by the council chair.
Opposition community, arts and lifestyle spokeswoman Kara Cook said the petition, titled 'Ban LGBTIQ+ programs from Brisbane City Council libraries', breached council's own guidelines.
Cr Cook said council's own guidelines required petitions to be respectful, decorous and temperate, and not contain any language likely to be offensive to any member of the public.
She asked the Lord Mayor to enforce council's own guidelines and take down the petition.
Cr Schrinner said he had received hundreds of letters and emails attacking him for supporting the LGBTIQ+ community, and he had not backed down.
"But now it's interesting to see a petition on the other side of the coin attacking me for not doing enough to support that community," he said, referring to one calling on him to apologise to LGBTIQ+ people.
He said there seemed to be "some confusion" about what he believed, saying he supported a tolerant and respectful community, where every member had a right to live free of hatred and discrimination.
"But what I can't promise is to censor the things that people say, things that other people say," he said.
Cr Schrinner said council officers had sought legal advice about the petition, which was "consistent with petitions right across council and, in fact, right across the State Government.
He said throughout his time in the council, he had never heard that the lord mayor had chosen to take down a petition from the public.
"That has never happened, and nor should it happen. I am not the censor-in-chief," he said.
"We live in a democracy and people have the right to petition council on anything they like.
"Right now, you can go on the State Government's website and you can see language which many people would find offensive about abortion and euthanasia.
"So, practise what you preach."
Cr Cook immediately moved an urgency motion that the petitions "Ban LGBTIQ+ programs from Brisbane City Council libraries" and "Adult entertainment is not suitable for children" be removed from the council petition process.
She also demanded the Lord Mayor apologise for any hurt caused.
Cr Cook insisted the petition breached the council's own "crystal-clear" guidelines, and thousands of people were offended.
"This is urgent because this administration is burying their heads in the sand when it comes to protecting one of the most vulnerable groups in the city," she said.
She said the LGBTIQ+ community was twice as likely to experience anxiety, three times as likely to experience depression and social phobias, five times as likely to experience major depressive episodes and up to 14 times as likely to try to take their own life.
"These health outcomes are directly related to experiences of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and abuse," Cr Cook said.
"These petitions are a direct example of the kinds of abuse and prejudice this community faces and should be removed."
The LNP voted against Cr Cook's motion, while Labor councillors, the Greens' Jonathan Sri and Independent Nicole Johnston voted in favour.