We draw readers’ attention first off to yesterday’s Leader article.

The following occurred towards the end of the meeting after countless flurries across the chamber on previous items and the defeat of another attempt by Delahunty to pass a motion. The item under discussion here was Delahunty’s Request for a Report following the two earlier unsuccessful attempts.

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Delahunty moved that a report be done to ‘inform councillors of the best way to engage the community and police’ in an ‘open forum’ to ‘discuss the security of events’ on council land. The report should ‘also explain council’s role in managing risk’ and the role of police. Okotel seconded.

DELAHUNTY: said that what she was hoping to do was ‘provide some moving off point’ from this ‘quagmire we find ourselves in’ and that ‘sections of our community feel more at risk than others’. Said that this was ‘unacceptable’ to all. Agreed with Lipshutz that it was ‘unacceptable’ to have armed guards ‘outside schools’ and synagogues. Council’s ‘role is one of leadership’ and ‘bringing the parties together’ so that people can understand and ‘question those feelings of a lack of safety’. Wanted the police to ‘hear those concerns’ and for them to ‘make suggestions as to what role they can play’ in alleviating these feelings of insecurity. Said that it is ‘right’ that ‘I want a little less guns’ and want ‘people in the community to come together and to discuss it’. Hoped that ‘we can move forward from here’ and wanted to ‘progress the issue and do something about it’. Said that what ‘we really need to do is engage in conversation’ and that’s the objective of the report request.

OKOTEL: said security is ‘of great importance’ to residents and thought a forum as a means ‘to commence dialogue’ was a good idea and would hopefully bring ‘tangible outcomes’. The report focused on events but she hoped it would be the ‘springboard’ for a wider discussion on ‘community safety’. Said that residents had contacted her about safety issues ‘around train stations’ for example. So hoped this could be the ‘beginning of an ongoing dialogue’ and ‘improving safety’.

MAGEE: said that recently police had run a forum on safety and it had covered events on public land and ‘talked about strategies within Glen Eira’. They revealed that the ‘police will only inform the community to a certain level’ and that ‘most of their methodology will not be discussed in public’. Number of police and the weapons they carry will ‘never be disclosed’. They said that they would be ‘happy’ to comment on any council event and to ‘give us advice’ as to how ‘they see security’ could be improved. But the ‘operational methodology of the Victoria Police stays within the Victoria Police’. Supported the report but thought that the advice they would get from the police would be about ratios of attendees to police and not operational. ‘What we don’t know is that second tier’ and what’s ‘standing off’ on the event. Report will ‘be good’ but ‘will be general’ and he ‘would be disappointed’ if the police did ‘give us detail’ about their operations.

LIPSHUTZ: agreed with Magee and since he didn’t think the ‘report is going to hurt’ he will support it. Thought it would make ‘good copy’ in the Leader. Said he can’t understand Delahunty saying she hates guns but votes against having ‘a high fence to protect kids at the Hadass School’ and wants operational matters disclosed so that for his ‘kids and families this is unacceptable too’.

LOBO: said that ‘security is important’ but ‘above all the communities have to integrate’ and if ‘communities work in a vacuum then this type of thing will happen’. Stated that the government protects everyone including Lipshutz, Hyams, Esakoff – ‘they have the best protection’ but ‘if you do these type of things people will target them more’. Stated that council shouldn’t be involved in security because ‘that is not our business’ and didn’t need to be ‘discussed with the police at all’. ‘I could have had a gun because I was called a terrorist in 2010’ (Note: this comment undoubtedly refers to an email by Lipshutz to Lobo asking if the bank that Lobo claims to have worked for in the Middle East was responsible for channelling funds to terrorist organisations). ‘I don’t have one so you don’t have to be worried’.

HYAMS: said that it ‘sounds uncomfortably like’ because the Jewish community ‘protects itself it is asking to be attacked’. He found Lobo’s comments ‘extremely disturbing’ and like ‘comments that have been made all through history by people with very bad character’. He ‘urged’ Lobo to ‘clarify what he meant by that’.

LOBO: said that ‘if you focus on yourself’ and that ‘you are the only one’ then ‘you are drawing attraction to others’.

HYAMS: ‘that comment shows such a lack of understanding’ of history that ‘it blows my mind’. Said that the ‘only reason’ that Jews are a ‘greater target’ than other groups is ‘because it draws attention to itself’. Wanted to know ‘what sort of a country are we living in’ when an ‘elected councillors’ can say ‘the reason you’re attacked is your fault’? ‘There are thousands of years of anti-semitism’ and the ‘Jewish community doesn’t ask’ for ‘what happens’ and they attempt to ‘protect themselves against what happens to it’. ‘That is probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard said in a council chamber’. Asked Pilling to ask Lobo to ‘withdraw’.

Pilling asked Lobo to ‘withdraw the last comment you made’.

LOBO: ‘I would be happy to retract’ but said that his point was ‘we should not isolate ourselves’.

Pilling asked Lobo again to retract his comment.

LOBO: ‘okay, I retract’.

Pilling asked Esakoff if she wanted to speak and she replied ‘no’.

SOUNNESS: said he supported the motion and ‘looked forward to a productive conversation’. About ‘bringing our community together’. Important to remember that ‘we are sharing our community together’ and ‘we should be enjoying the richness that all of us bring to the table’. Even thought the report ‘doesn’t say that’ thought that ‘we should be looking to how we can be united’.

PILLING: supported the motion. Didn’t think that ‘much’ would come out of it but ‘information’ is always good. Said that some of the comments made ‘are unnecessary’ and he warned Lobo that he will ‘call’ him if ‘you step out of line’ and ‘won’t give you the benefit of the doubt’ which ‘I have tonight’. ‘We are a good council and we should all work together’.

LOBO started to speak but Pilling stopped him.

DELAHUNTY: said that the motion was about a public forum and that she wasn’t asking ‘for operational details’. Said she found it insulting that some people’s ‘families’ should be more safer than ‘other people’s families’ Arguing that ‘nothing much will come’ of the report is ‘disheartening’ but this is only a request for a forum. Said she ‘isn’t asking for information from police’ just that they ‘show up’. And if they don’t show up then ‘that’s something we need to talk about as well’ because sections of the community for ‘one reason or another’ ‘feel that they are at greater risk than others’. Said she enjoys ‘a great life in Glen Eira’ and doesn’t feel unsafe. She isn’t touched by domestic violence but others are and ‘we discussed this around this table’ and they discussed ‘wearing white ribbons’ so now they are discussing people ‘feeling unsafe particularly because of their religious’ affiliations. It’s a ‘call for a report’ and not a ‘call for some really insulting comments’ to be made. ‘What an absolute disappointment that little discussion was’. Lipshutz ‘talks about living in the real world’. Said that ‘I live in the real world too’ and in ‘this real world I sought election so that I could change things’ and ‘this is one of the things I want to change’. So ‘we shouldn’t just be passing reports because it doesn’t hurt’ but to ‘do something’ and if ‘you can’t do something then get off the chair and let someone else have a go’. ‘This is absolutely ridiculous’.

MOTION PUT AND PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

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