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Criticism of Albany Councillor Thomas Brough builds

Criticism of City of Albany councillor Dr Thomas Brough continues to grow a week after comments he made suggesting a link between LGBTIQA+ communities and acceptance of paedophilia.

Lobby group Just.Equal say they have submitted a formal complain to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) over the comments. Alongside his role as a councillor Dr Brough works in the field of emergency medicine.

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AHPRA works in partnership with 15 National Boards to ensure the community has access to a safe health workforce across all professions registered under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

In an Albany City Council meeting last week, Dr Brough suggested that the LGBTIQA+ community included and welcomed paedophiles.

Councillor Brough made the claim after fellow councillor Amanda Cruse spoke about the city’s Pride celebrations which have been held this week. Councillor Cruse acknowledged that many elected representatives may have received negative emails from some constituents about the Pride festival, but said, “Albany has improved dramatically over the past several years as a place for LGBTQIA+ people to live.”

Councillor Brough replied, putting forward the claim that the LGBTIQA+ community also included support for “minor attracted people”.

“Following on from Councillor Cruse’s comments, I totally agree government shouldn’t be worried about what people are getting up to in their bedrooms, I certainly don’t. But within the coalition of the LGBTQIA+ I just want to hone in on the plus. That includes a group of people who identify as minor attracted persons. I would encourage all citizens and councillors to look up what being a minor attracted persons means.” Dr Brough said.

Later in an interview with the ABC, Dr Brough doubled down on his comments.

“I just think we’re talking about a broad coalition,” he said.

“People are rightly concerned about some of the people who come into that coalition. I’m not interested in what people get up to in the bedroom — it’s none of my business.

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

Complaint filed with with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Speaking on behalf of Just Equal, Brian Greig said he believed that Dr Brough had breached the standards of professional behaviour required of practicing doctors.

“There is no correlation between LGBTIQA people and child sex abuse.

“It is both wrong and harmful for Dr Brough to suggest otherwise.

“We have asked AHPRA to investigate within its guidelines of professional standards and public safety.”

In a statement to the ABC, a WA Country Health Service spokesperson said the service rejected all forms of vilification.

“Dr Brough’s comments are unacceptable and not representative of our commitment to inclusive and respectful healthcare,” the spokesperson said.

“As an organisation, we expect all health practitioners to comply with their profession’s code of conduct, which condemns discrimination.”

Dr Brough’s comments have faced wide condemnation with Liberal leader Libby Mettam labelling them as “bizarre” and “inappropriate”, while Albany Mayor Greg Stocks suggested councillor Brough should retract his comment.

Speaking on Melbourne radio station JOY 94.9 Western Australian Liberal Senator Dean Smith (pictured above) said it was great that community group Albany Pride were stepping up and challenging “entrenched attitudes” like those put forward by Dr Brough.

Historian Timothy Jones, who is an associate professor at La Trobe University, told the Albany Advertiser that while there were different understandings of what the plus symbol in the acronym stands for, including terms such as ‘sisterboys’ and ‘brothergirls’ in Indigenous communities or people who identify as Two-Spirit in Indigenous American culture.

Legal group Pride in Law said the comments made by Dr Brough were “entirely false and highly offensive.”

“It is particularly disappointing that a member of local government (and a practicing doctor) would be the source of such misinformation, especially during the 2024 Albany Pride Festival.” the organisation said.

OUTinPerth has contacted Dr Brough for comment.

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / qlife.org.au (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife are a counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DISCHARGEDinfo@discharged.asn.au / discharged.asn.au
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 / lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 / www.beyondblue.org.au

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