We’ve received the following email as a response to our previous post on the censure motion against Lobo. We’ve put it up in full.

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The positions of the bullies on our Council are untenable. As can be seen above, they have clearly defamed Cr Lobo. The remaining question is whether there is any defence available to them.

But first a recap. A meeting was held on 20 Oct 2015, without the required notice and with no explanation for lack of notice. The meeting was closed to the public on spurious grounds, as it has since emerged it wasn’t related to protection of council property, and it has not been demonstrated that holding the meeting in public would prejudice the Council or any person. Since we now know what the real business being transacted was, it is clear that holding the meeting in public would not prejudice Council or any person.

The business transacted concerned whether a jewish security firm providing security services to a jewish organisation conducting an event on Council land could carry guns. This wasn’t strictly Council business as Council admits its business was to decide whether to accept a booking and if so, what conditions would be placed on the permit. Nevertheless it gave its imprimatur to the request.  When details leaked, there was a furious reaction. Certain members of council, stunned by the criticism of their actions, went on the attack, inveighing against their many critics.

An attempt to remove confidentiality from the secret minutes surrounding their secret resolution was defeated on predictable lines. Cr Lipshutz and Cr Hyams made clear to their faction that under no circumstances did they want what they did exposed.

At a bitter Council meeting held 15 Dec 2015, Cr Hyams attacked anybody who didn’t wholeheartedly support him, which included Crs Lobo and Delahunty. Cr Hyams imputed that Cr Lobo was of “very bad character”. The Mayor allowed Cr Hyams’ tirade to proceed unchecked.

Council has [deliberately?] chosen not to publish what was said, but we have a partial record from Glen Eira Debates and from The Leader. Cr Lobo pointed out, accurately, that personal security “is not our business”. It appears the comments that Council are alleging to be racist and antisemitic are [as reported by The Leader] ““Maybe people in that community wouldn’t have to worry about being attacked if they didn’t draw attention to themselves”. In this entire inept saga Council hasn’t actually made clear what the comments are that it considers to be racist and antisemitic. They were reminded of that by their own lawyer.

Cr Hyams, losing touch with reality but confident of his power-base, called the comments “probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard said in a council chamber”. Cr Pilling in an abuse of his position asked Cr Lobo to withdraw his comments without giving reasons as required by 236(2) and 236(3). Under pressure, Cr Lobo withdrew his remarks.

The Leader wrote this up as “If you say Jews deserve the attacks that happen to them because of the way they behave, then you can’t characterise that as anything other than anti-Semitism,” Cr Hyams said. Note that it is NOT what Cr Lobo said. It is not a fair comment, and probably not an honest opinion given it isn’t based on proper material.

Cr Lobo subsequently published clarifications in The Leader about his remarks. He said, “I am not and never have been in favour of non-police personnel carrying guns in public places” and “My concern was about guns being carried by non-police personnel on council property that belongs to all residents of Glen Eira City”. I share his concerns. I continue to interpret Cr Lobo’s comments as rejecting the exceptionalism involved in a subset of the jewish community expecting, indeed demanding, special privileges.

Fast-forward to the 23 Feb 2016 meeting for yet more spite and insanity, thoroughly documented above. Although Council provided no evidence, no definitions, no arguments, nothing, to substantiate its claims, it decided to advertise its defamatory comments directed at Cr Lobo. The hapless Cr Pilling allowed the jewish councillors to spout their bile, which was mostly irrelevant and should have been the subject of Points of Order on the grounds of irrelevance. What was the relevance of a quote from a letter concerning a german-born physicist? Did Cr Pilling really think it was appropriate to equate Cr Lobo with the Kommandant of Auschwitz?

Cr Lobo has been bullied repeatedly. That’s a fact. I don’t agree with the repeated abuses of points of order to silence him. Whether the motivation is racism, just plain bigotry, or some other reason remains to be seen. I hope Cr Delahunty regrets voting in support of the second Motion after speaking against it.

Cr Hyams made mention of the heightened security environment. The Australian Government has the National Terrorism Threat Level currently set at “Probable”. The likely targets are listed as “military, police and security agencies” although it notes “indiscriminate attacks are increasing, and the risk to the general public in Australia remains”. I searched but I saw no mention of the jewish community as having a different risk profile to the general public.

The Australian Government does provide specific advice to people to minimize their exposure to threats: “Avoid dress and behaviour that might draw attention to yourself”. Council has condemned Cr Lobo for providing the same advice that the Australian Government provides. I look forward to Council explaining itself to the Human Rights Commission.

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