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  • Writer's pictureLeonardo Puglisi

What just happened? Six councillors switch sides in Cumberland City Council same-sex parents book ban vote

Councillors have overturned the ban after just two weeks following nationwide attention.

The ban on books featuring same-sex parents from being shown at Cumberland City Council libraries has been overturned following a chaotic 4-hour meeting last night.

At 10:41pm AEDT, following hours of debate and public gallery speakers which at times turned into shouting matches, councillors voted 13-2 to overturn the ban.

The motion to rescind was introduced by Labor's Kun Huang and Sabrin Farooqui, in response to the amendment on 1 May introduced by Our Local Community (OLC) councillors Steve Christou and Paul Garrard.

All eight Labor councillors voted to remove the ban, including Ola Hamed, who walked out of the last vote but spoke at lengths opposing it last night.

Additionally, Mohamad Hussein, the only Labor councillor who backed the ban last time, voted at the last minute to remove it despite having spoken an hour earlier seemingly in favour of the ban.

Two of the three Our Local Community councillors, Garrard and Helen Hughes, flipped to support removing the ban, leaving Steve Christou with only independent Eddy Sarkis for support.

Sarkis left OLC in February after not being preselected for the September local elections. Yesterday morning, he had told the Sydney Morning Herald that he would vote to remove the ban:

"This motion that was moved by Councillor Christou, I knew nothing about...Yesterday I took it upon myself to get the book that had been banned. I read the book and have come to the conclusion that nothing sexualises children in this book" − Sarkis yesterday morning

It's unclear why he changed his stance at the last minute.

Also changing their stances were Michael Zaiter (Independent Liberal) and Greg Cummings (The Independents).

The remaining councillor, Joseph Rahme (Independent Liberal) was not in attendance for the second meeting in a row.

Among the public gallery speakers were former Liberal-turned UAP MP Craig Kelly, who is now a member of Pauline Hanson's One Nation, along with Hawkesbury Greens councillor Danielle Wheeler and former Cumberland Labor councillor George Campbell.

You can watch a full replay of the council meeting here.

For more coverage of the 2024 New South Wales local elections, click here

1 Comment

May 19

That awkward moment when Christians and Muslims awkwardly stood side by side and fought their common enemy - the alphabet soup community. I find it hilarious because it was just a month ago when a peaceful Muslim stabbed your poor bishop. Y'all need stop siding with Muslims. They aren't just out to get homos, but Christians too, whether they're MENA or Euro. 🙄 I'm gay myself and a non-woke one, and I'm glad that this vote was rescinded. Censorship is illiberal and medieval. And besides, that "gay book" doesn't even sexualise children. For the love of God, read it before you judge. It's just a parent book with gay couples. 😅 And if two people in love is "sexualization" then you…

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