Renewed call for Wollongong council to raise rainbow flag - Illawarra Greens

Renewed call for Wollongong council to raise rainbow flag

Greens Ward 1 Councillor Mithra Cox will call on Wollongong City Council to raise the rainbow flag above its headquarters as the marriage equality postal survey enters its final days. In her first notice of motion, Mithra has asked her colleagues to support her push to fly the LGBTQI symbol as a show of support for diversity across the city.

While motivated by the same-sex marriage postal survey, Ms Cox said her motion was “not advocating a Yes vote” –but was a show of support in a “difficult time”.

Read the article by Kate McIlwain in The Illawarra Mercury, 25 October 2017.

Renewed call for Wollongong council to raise rainbow flag          

Raising the issue: Councillors will debate whether to join other cities and hoist a rainbow flag at Wollongong's Burelli Street headquarters.
Raising the issue: Councillors will debate whether to join other cities and hoist a rainbow flag at Wollongong's Burelli Street headquarters.

Councillor Mithra Cox will call on Wollongong City Council to raise the rainbow flag above its headquarters as the marriage equality postal survey enters its final days.

In her first notice of motion, the Greens representative has asked her colleagues to support her push to fly the LGBTQI symbol as a show of support for diversity across the city.

While motivated by the same-sex marriage postal survey, Ms Cox said her motion was “not advocating a Yes vote” –but was a show of support in a “difficult time”.

“The marriage equality debate is having a serious and personal impact on members of our LGBTI community,” she said.

“Thousands of people who have been quietly living their lives in our city are being publicly judged and feeling shamed for their sexuality, their parenting choices and their families.”

Read more: When does the same-sex marriage postal survey close?

With councillors due to vote on the move next Monday, the deadline to mail back marriage surveys (October 27) will have passed.

Ms Cox’s flag push comes as the City of Sydney this week voted to allow same-sex couples to hire community facilities, halls and parks for free for 100 days if same-sex marriage is legalised following the postal survey.

In her notice of motion, she noted that councils including Randwick, Sydney, Hobart, Frankston, Bendigo, Ballarat and Albury have already been flying a rainbow flag.

She also appealed to Wollongong’s sense of competition with Newcastle, noting the northern rival had already been flying the flag.

Read more: Push to highlight marriage equality by flying rainbow flag at Wollongong City Council 

“It would be really humiliating if Newcastle does it and we don’t – they’re not more cosmopolitan and inclusive than we are!”

Ms Cox’s motion follows an earlier push from former Wollongong Labor councillor Ann Martin to have the rainbow flag raised over Burelli Street.

In August, during the council election campaign, Ms Martin joined with a number of other Labor politicians outside the council headquarters to show support for marriage equality.

She said, if elected, she would have prepared a notice of motion for the first meeting of council, and – if not elected – would urge one of her Labor colleagues to do so instead.