Nillumbik, Please Stand With Your LGBTI Citizens

Main Road Eltham

UPDATE: The Mayor responds (below).

I live in the much-vaunted Green Wedge, the self-styled ‘village’ of Eltham in Nillumbik Shire, where, despite increasing urbanisation, there are still more trees than houses. It’s one reason we pay some of the highest rates in Melbourne.

As the postal survey forms start appearing in letter boxes, federal MP for Jagajaga, Jenny Macklin, is working for the YES cause, as is the state MP Vicki Ward.

But from Nillumbik Shire Council, not a word. Not a flag on a council flagpole. I have been told, unofficially, that this is because the councillors consider the postal survey a federal issue and nothing to do with them.

This is not acceptable. My husband and I, and all the other LGBTI residents of the shire, pay our rates like everyone else, and we have a right to expect that our local councillors will stand up for us, who are held in inequality, with fewer rights than them. I have written to the Nillumbik Councillors as follows: if you live locally, or would just like to support my request, please feel free to write to them too.

Mayor Peter.Clarke@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

Deputy Mayor Karen.Egan@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

Jane.Ashton@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

Grant.Brooker@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

John.Dumaresq@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

peter.perkins@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

Bruce.Ranken@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

As local councillors I should like to ask you what the shire of Nillumbik is doing locally to help win a YES vote for a fair go and equality for your LGBTI residents, such as myself and my husband.

I may have blinked and missed it, but here in Eltham there is not one Yes billboard, or poster, or rainbow flag, on any council property. Why aren’t the council offices, library, the health centre, war memorial etc etc flying a rainbow flag?

The LGBTI community cannot do this alone, especially in the burbs and regions. We need our elected representatives to stand up for us, and stand with us, as many other local and regional councils have done.

I have spoken to both our state and federal members, and they are ‘in it to win it’ with us. May I please ask you, as a matter of urgency, to join with us in celebration of the wonderful diversity of this green and (small l) liberal shire of ours?

This isn’t just a federal issue: it reaches into every home in the country, because we live in every part of this country, paying our full taxes and rates despite still being treated as second class citizens with fewer rights than you. Please stand with us in our call for a fair go: or do you not subscribe to that most Australian of values?

Thanks.Doug Pollard

Their telephone numbers are also online at http://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Council/Councillors : just click through to the councillor you would like to text or speak to.

The Mayor’s Response

Dear Doug,

The Nillumbik Shire Council does not have a public position regarding the National Survey on Marriage Equality.

This Council has confined itself and remains focussed on issues that Councillors have taken to a local election and have a mandate to implement or issues which Council is responsible for under the local government, planning ,health ,building ,transport, environment acts related to our direct sphere of influence.

We have not engaged in the current debate and proposed legislation regarding Euthanasia, Australia Day date determination or the Recognise Campaign for Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community etc for similar reasons.

These are matters that are determined via legislative frameworks where Local Government (Shire of Nillumbik) is not the principle advocate for change.

A response to the survey that individual councillors wish to express , is their personal view and they are free to express that view as they wish.

Regards

Cr Peter Clarke – Mayor
Wingrove Ward
Nillumbik Shire Council | Civic Drive (PO Box 476) Greensborough, Victoria 3088
0401 100 141 | Peter.Clarke@nillumbik.vic.gov.au | www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. And now he’s been nominated for LGBTI Journalist of the Year 2017, which is great news, as he hasn’t won any of these things for years! If you want to nominate him too – the more the merrier – you can do it here http://www.australianlgbtiawards.com.au/public-nominations.html

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)