Over the last week, we've seen escalating incidents of vandalism, abuse, harassment, threats and intimidation within our community after street artist Scott Marsh painted a provocative mural on the back of the Botany View Hotel. Residents have asked for Inner West Council's support in this matter, which is why I've submitted the following urgency motion for consideration at our next meeting tonight.
The aim of this motion is to recognise the democratic result of the marriage equality survey; reaffirm Council's commitment to a diverse and inclusive community, where our residents feel safe; and to do whatever we can to support our residents, and work towards the peaceful resolution of the current crisis.
Update 22/11/17: The motion wasn't discussed after yet another Council meeting (5.5hrs, finish time 12am!) ended with us not completing all items on the agenda (urgency motions are heard at the end). I'm planning to keep monitoring the situation and will table again if necessary. In the meantime, please let me know if there's any way I can help.
STANDING WITH OUR COMMUNITY IN THE INNER WEST
- Acknowledges the democratic vote of the marriage equality survey from the Australian community, which has seen a result in favour of marriage equality in Australia, with majority ‘yes’ votes recorded across every state and territory.
- Reaffirms our commitment to keeping the inner west a diverse, inclusive and vibrant place, where all residents have the right to feel safe within our community.
- Urges residents to contact police to report any instances of harassment, abuse, hate speech, vandalism, and other illegal acts.
- Immediately liaises with our local community and the police about the recent instances of vandalism, abuse and harassment in order to support and protect our residents and their property, and work towards the peaceful resolution of these incidents.
In the days following the marriage equality survey result, two murals in the inner west (Newtown and Erskineville) have been vandalised repeatedly. Local residents and a local business have also been targeted with abusive or threatening social media posts and phone calls.
One of the artworks was unambiguously controversial and some residents had raised legitimate objections about the work. Many residents, however, were supportive of the mural.
Regardless of what one thinks about the original artwork, it should go without saying that the illegal vandalism of private property, and the intimidation and harassment of our residents, is not acceptable.
Residents have been angered, upset and frightened by the escalating nature of these acts, and wish to see this issue resolved as soon as possible. They have asked for Council’s support in this matter.
At a meeting of the Newtown Vibe Roundtable yesterday (a quarterly meeting of business owners, venue managers, community organisations, Council staff, and local representatives and police), the view was expressed that any motion put to tonight’s meeting should be as positive as possible, which is why I have put forward this urgency motion.