WODONGA’S deputy mayor has eagerly endorsed a comment stating “the four oldies in the Wodonga council are proof that you don’t need animals too (sic) run a circus”.
The insult was posted on satirical Facebook page The Water Tower Report on Monday night following Wodonga councillors voting 4-3 to continue to allow circuses with exotic animals to use municipal land.
Those councillors supporting the status quo were the city’s most senior in age, Brian Mitchell, Ron Mildren, John Watson and Libby Hall.
In full the Water Tower barb read: “Despite being firmly against it, the four oldies in the Wodonga council are proof that you don’t need animals too (sic) run a circus.”
In reply deputy mayor Kat Bennett, who campaigned to ban circuses with exotic animals from council land, posted “YAAAS!!!” and separately “Best. Comment. Ever!!”.
Cr Mildren suggested Cr Bennett had broken behavioural rules governing councillors.
“I think the Report’s pretty juvenile and I think Kat Bennett’s comments are somewhat disrespectful and probably breach our councillor code of conduct,” Cr Mildren said.
Under the policy, councillors “should not undermine, deride or publicly denigrate” a decision taken by the city and “must treat all persons with respect and have due regard to the opinions, beliefs, rights and responsibilities of other councillors”.
Asked if he would make a code of conduct complaint or seek an apology, Cr Mildren said “I don’t see the point”.
Cr Bennett defended her actions, but said she was willing to apologise.
“The Water Tower Report does some really great articles,” Cr Bennett said.
“I commented from my personal page, not my councillor page.
“If Cr Mildren is offended, I'm more than happy to apologise to him directly.”
Cr Bennett’s “Best. Comment. Ever.” post was gone by early yesterday afternoon.
The Water Report describes itself as “the realest fake news on the Border” and has articles by Martin Mockenbolt.
Cr Bennett commented through her council Facebook page last September it was “the best news source on the border”.
Cr Hall suggested Cr Bennett would have given her approval to the slur on her colleagues because she “wasn’t too happy” to lose the vote on circuses.
Asked if she believed Cr Bennett breached the code of conduct, Cr Hall said “I’ll leave it for others to have that viewpoint”.
“I’m not trying to shut people down from having a viewpoint,” Cr Hall said.
Cr Watson and Cr Mitchell did not respond to The Border Mail’s calls.
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