‘No ill will to Albany Pride’ says Cr Thomas Brough while repeating justification for ‘damaging’ comments

Stuart McGuckinAlbany 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

Albany councillor Thomas Brough has again repeated his concerns that the plus in the LGBTQI+ acronym includes paedophiles at this month’s ordinary meeting, a month on from when he first made the claim.

Cr Brough suggested the plus included “minor-attracted persons” during his councillor report at Albany council’s February meeting and subsequently doubled down on his comments in the following days.

On Tuesday, he again raised the matter during his councillor report in front of a gallery which included members of Albany Pride who had gathered to urge the city to do better after Cr Brough’s “damaging” comments a month earlier.

Cr Brough thanked Albany Pride representatives for attending the meeting to “clear the air” and said “at no point have I ever sought to impugn the reputation of Albany Pride”.

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He said his comments at the February meeting related to gender ideology and that he would not denigrate people based on their sexual identity: “I love people, I love humanity, I love life”.

“I support people being able to live their lives as they see fit, but I reject the notion that a minor-attracted person is a respectable sexual identity,” he said.

“The matter for public debate appears to be what the plus symbol means, there are clearly different views.

“I’m supportive of Albany Pride in the way have defined their view on the plus, but sadly there are elements within the national and international self-identifying plus community who do not share this view.”

Cr Paul Terry interjected and challenged the relevance of Cr Brough’s comments when he began referencing Latrobe University Emeritus Professor Gary Dowsett’s position on the matter.

Mayor Greg Stocks said Cr Brough had started his report in a “conciliatory” manner and allowed him to continue but indicated he should “bring it in pretty quickly”.

Cr Brough continued briefly before making further references to the professor’s comments regarding the “legal rights of paedophiles and their young lovers” that drew the ire of the gallery with one person heard to ask “this can’t be happening again”.

At that point, Mr Stocks again urged Cr Brough to “wind it up”.

Cr Brough again briefly continued before Cr Terry interjected and Mr Stocks suggested Cr Brough make any closing comments “not related to LGBTQI+”.

“I harbour no ill will to Albany Pride,” Cr Brough ended.

“I welcome future discussion with all community groups to ensure a common commitment to the protection of our children.”

Albany Pride vice-president Millie Reid addressed the council during the meeting, suggesting actions the city could take to “move forward with a less divisive discourse”.

At the start of the meeting, Mr Stocks made a point of cautioning councillors and the public to remain respectful and not “adversely affect or vilify individuals”.

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