In Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Councilor Susan Bissinger found herself under a speaking ban following her objections to a decision to permanently fly the gay Pride flag at the council’s offices. Here’s the full story.
A Clashing Exchange
Elected in 2021, Bissinger’s concerns about the potential divisiveness of the flag’s permanent display led to a clash with fellow councilors and council staff in an online exchange.
The Mayor Responded
Mayor Steve Holland responded by ordering external mediation, during which Bissinger’s behavior came under scrutiny.
Subsequently, Bissinger was not only slapped with a speaking ban but also mandated to complete a personal development course.
This unprecedented measure has left the councilor feeling “under siege” and questioning her ability to adequately represent her community.
The Flag May Prove to Be Divisive
Bissinger’s opposition comes from her fear that the permanent display of the Pride flag, symbolizing the LGBTQ+ community, may prove to be divisive.
Shouldn’t Blindly Follow “Woke” Councils
She argued that Mornington Peninsula should not simply follow the lead of “woke” councils in Melbourne.
However, this stance was deemed as ‘poor behavior’ during the mediation process.
Under the ban, Bissinger is only permitted to communicate with the council’s chief executive, John Baker, the chief financial officer, and three department heads.
Her View on the Restrictions
The restrictions, in Bissinger’s view, threaten her ability to effectively work on essential projects, including a traffic management plan for her council ward, encompassing Portsea, Sorrento, Blairgowrie, Rye, and Tootgarook.
Far From Ideal
Julie Collins, representing the Sorrento Chamber of Commerce, expressed sympathy for Bissinger’s predicament, saying that it was far from ideal.
However, she also noted assurances from John Baker that the ban would not hinder local businesses’ interactions with council staff, assuring them that they could still reach out directly.
“Standing up to the Woke Rubbish From Councils”
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Great work. Thanks for standing up to the woke rubbish from councils.”
Another user added, “The flag represents a far-left agenda. It means the council is not representing your views unless you are far left.
Whoever it ideologically designates as oppressed will get arbitrary favorable treatment.”
A third user commented, “Don’t wrap this woman’s homophobia up in a blanket of misogyny. It’s beneath you.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Matej Kastelic. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.