Lighting debate stirs up tension among councillors
THE Same Sex Marriage debate has stirred up further tension at Livingstone Shire Council despite the council's stance to remain neutral on the issue.
The issue has gone from a request by a group of residents to change the configuration of the lights at Wreck Point to Councillor Glenda Mather accusing Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig of using his power as mayor to reject the matter.
Mayor Ludwig denies that the refusal was his decision alone, saying he gave the opportunity for councillors to overrule his decision after he left the meeting early due to other obligations.
Earlier this week, a group of residents requested council change the colour of the lights at the Wreck Point Lookout from a rainbow configuration to blue and pink to reflect the 'no' vote in the Same Sex Marriage debate.
Geoff Shields of Cooee Bay said the group met with Livingstone Shire councillors Deputy Mayor Nigel Hutton along with Councillors Adam Belot, Tom Wyatt and Glenda Mather about the matter last week.
Mr Shields said the residents were concerned about the rising level of anxiety in the community linked with the Same Sex Marriage debate where the Marriage Act could be changed.
The Wreck Point Lookout's lights are currently in the rainbow configuration - something Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig says was the normal configuration except at State of Origin time when they were changed to maroon/red.
Cr Glenda Mather and Cr Adam Belot raised the lights issue at council's ordinary meeting on Monday, requesting the matter be dealt with as Urgent Business.
Cr Mather said Cr Belot and herself had 'protested' against the Mayor rejecting "the request outright as not being Urgent Business".
"This fell on deaf ears, and the Mayor rose from his seat, gathered his belongings, handed the rest of the meeting over to Cr Wyatt, and left the room for a conference, the same conference Cr Belot was to attend. End of story," Cr Mather said.
She claimed previous statements attributed to the Mayor were misleading including "we have a totally neutral stance in relation to this matter, and we will respectfully be maintaining that," and "the majority of councillors voted to continue with the neutral position on the same sex marriage debate and for the lights to remain rainbow".
Mayor Ludwig clarified yesterday that there was a discussion among councillors, not an official vote, about the matter.
He said the majority of councillors, during that discussion, reaffirmed that council's position should remain neutral.