Albany city councillor called out after incorrectly stating LGBTQIA+ includes paedophiles

Eliza Kavanagh and Josiah McMeekinAlbany Advertiser
Albany city councillor Thomas Brough made the comments during the city’s popular pride festival.
Camera IconAlbany city councillor Thomas Brough made the comments during the city’s popular pride festival. Credit: Laurie Benson and Jenny Feast Photography

An Albany city councillor has been condemned for incorrectly stating in a city council meeting that the plus in LGBTQIA+ includes paedophiles.

In his opening remarks at Tuesday night’s City of Albany ordinary council meeting, Thomas Brough said that “government shouldn’t be worried about what people are getting up to in their bedrooms” but went on to make the incorrect claim that the plus in the LGBTQIA+ community included paedophiles.

“Within the coalition of the LGBTQIA+, the plus includes people who identify as minor-attracted persons,” he said.

“I would encourage all citizens and councillors to look up what being a minor-attracted person is.”

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The Australian Army veteran and specialist emergency doctor doubled down on his comments in an interview with the ABC the following morning.

He said the “incorporation of people who are adults who are sexually attracted to children, minor-attracted persons, is a cause for concern if you’re adding them into a coalition”.

His comments were condemned by Albany Pride, the organisation behind the city’s annual pride festival, which has grown to become the biggest celebration of the LGBTIQA+ community in regional WA since its inception in 2011.

“If you say this about a group of people, it’s damaging,” Albany Pride committee member Tiger Bird said.

“We’ve put up with this sort of nonsense for far too long from people who should know better.

“The plus is used to encompass the wide array of identities which fall under the LGBTQIA umbrella, as well as short-hand for culturally specific terms.”

Bird also criticised the comments as disrespectful to survivors of child abuse.

“When you use terms like paedophile and groomer, one of the worst things imaginable, just because you disagree with someone, you need to remember there are real survivors of child abuse,” they said.

“You are using what they have been through as a cheap attack weapon.”

Mayor Greg Stocks said in a statement to the Advertiser the remarks did not represent the views of the council and they were Cr Brough’s “personal opinions alone”.

“The council plays a role in encouraging and promoting inclusivity and diversity within our community and its support for the Pride Festival aligns with this,” Mr Stocks said.

WA Liberal leader Libby Mettam said she wasn’t aware of the comments but said they sounded “bizarre” and were “not appropriate” when asked in an interview on Wednesday.

Cr Brough, who was elected to the City of Albany council in 2021, made headlines last year when he called on the city to end its relationship with its Chinese sister city Linyi, citing fears China would exploit the relationship to undermine Australian sovereignty.

The volunteer firefighter and tree farmer also spoke out against the adoption of the city’s new inclusivity logo in November 2022, with then-mayor Dennis Wellington repeatedly telling him to sit down after he continued speaking beyond his allotted four minutes.

Cr Brough was the only councillor to vote against the idea, which aimed to create a more welcoming environment at city buildings and events.

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