News

Councillor who called gays 'un-human' forced to apologise

RON Owen has been found to have broken Queensland's anti-discrimination laws, after an eight-year legal battle over comments he made about homosexuality.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member Ann Fitzpatrick found Mr Owen had breached the law with statements about homosexuals in a council report, a community newsletter and a website posting in 2005, according to a report on The Guardian Australia website.

Ms Fitzpatrick found Mr Owen went beyond expressing his own opinions, but also had urged others to hate gays, the article said.

The saga began at a Cooloola Shire Council meeting, at which Mr Owen, then a councillor, was challenged by then-Cooloola Coast councillor Peter Cantrell about his claims to be a champion of individual rights.

Cr Cantrell asked how he could claim to champion human rights while having a bumper sticker which claimed to quote the bible as saying "The only right gays have is the right to die."

Mr Owen denied a Gympie Times report on the meeting, in which he was quoted as saying this was probably because he did not regard gays as human.

Mr Owen also responded in material he published in a report to the council, a community newsletter and a website.

Richelle Menzies and Rhonda Bruce complained to the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, which found against Mr Owen on a number of counts. Mr Owen appealed against that decision in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Ultimately the matter was heard again this year in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

In findings announced last week, the tribunal found that Mr Owen's breach of anti-discrimination laws came in the form of an August 2005 report which he made to Cooloola Shire Council, entitled "Community morals and youth protection."

He reportedly called for homosexuals to be banned from going near schools, scout halls or churches, among other places.

In a newsletter inserted in letterboxes in parts of Gympie, Mr Owen reportedly defended his views by recalling his statement in council: "I used words to the effect of, 'If a person chooses to partake in un-human activities, they lose their human rights."

Ms Fitzpatrick ruled that "by seeking to convince his constituents of the reasonableness of his views, he is in reality asking them to adopt the same contempt for homosexuals that he feels."

She ordered Owen to give a private apology - "genuine, unqualified and in his own words" - to the complainants.

Gympie Times

Topics:  court, editors picks, gay, homosexual



'Sorry' on flip-flop as subdivision refused

COUNCIL VOTE: Gympie region councillors Daryl Dodt, Mal Gear, Dan Stewart, Mayor Mick Curran, Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch, Glen Hartwig, James Cochrane, Mark McDonald and Hilary Smerdon.

Planner says 'sorry' after proposal is rejected

Maryborough prison at it's worst over capacity

SAFETY CONCERNS: The Maryborough Correctional Centre has hit a new level of overcrowding, now sitting at 20% overcapacity, and there is a worry of what it means for prison guards.

There are safety concerns for correctional officers

Storms are coming! What it means for your long weekend

Yes, it's going to affect your long weekend

Local Partners

Katy Perry gets naked to encourage people to vote

Katy Perry in Funny Or Die sketch

Katy Perry has stripped naked for a comedy video

Jogging Tom Hanks crashes wedding in Central Park

Tom Hanks stopped for a selfie with this bride and groom

MOVIE REVIEW: Storks delivers family fun

A scene from the movie Storks.

ANIMATION can be hit or miss but when it hits, it hits hard.

Nick 'the snake' to call the shots on Survivor jury

Australian Survivor contestant Nick Iadanza.

LATEST evictee is out of the game but will still have a say.

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber split

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have split after 11 years together.

Why Chris Hemsworth was spotted wearing nail polish

RED CARPET: Do you think Chris Hemsworth is the typical unpolished but well-natured Aussie bloke?

He's now officially the best bloke in Australia

Gympie Century 21 owner forges his own path

ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Billy Mitchell (right) with Queensland franchise manager at Century 21, Glenn Stanton.

It's been a meteoric rise over the past few years for Billy Mitchell

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Huge Gunalda service station set to open by December

NEW STATION: The Gunalda Service Centre, owned by United Petroleum, will include a 350-seat eating area and a truckers lounge.

The massive servo is the biggest United development in Queensland.

Highway upgrade drives momentum in affordable market

Accessibility and affordability are keeping interest high

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'