Sydney councillor fined $2,500 in rainbow flag vilification case

Julie Passas, a councillor in the inner city Sydney suburb of Ashfield has been fined $2,500 after a court found she had vilified a gay neighbour when she complained about his rainbow flag.

Passas, who serves on the Inner West Council and is a former Deputy Mayor asked her neighbour to remove his rainbow flag on the day the marriage postal survey vote was announced.

Passas told neighbour Daniel Comensoli, who lives in a neighbouring unit in an apartment complex, that his flag was offensive to her culture and religion.

Passas allegedly told Comensoli that he should not be able to get married”until you could breastfeed and have children”. She later yelled at his housemate and was overheard telling another tenant to complain about the pair saying they were¬† “disgusting people”.

He also claimed Ms Passas began lobbying among others in the building to have Mr Comensoli and his housemate evicted. When police visited the home of Ms Passas after Comensoli complained, she was reportedly overheard saying “the rainbow flag was as offensive as the flag of ISIS”.

Passas denied making the comments, and said she had made the comment about ISIS as an analogy. The tribunal found she had vilified gay people through he actions and she was ordered to pay $2,500 – substantially less than the $10,000 Comensoli had sought.

She was also ordered to take an advertisement in a local newspaper and publish a public apology. The council has previously determined that the Liberal councillor did not breach the council’s code of conduct as she was acting as private citizen at the time of the incident.

OIP Staff


 

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