Town of Bassendean could fly rainbow flag in place of Torres Strait Island flag

Town of Bassendean could fly rainbow flag in place of Torres Strait Island flag

A TOWN of Bassendean councillor wants the Town to fly the rainbow flag in support of marriage equality, in what could be a WA first.

At last week�s meeting, Cr Paul Bridges gave notice of a motion for the next meeting on September 22 to fly the flag outside the Town administration building on Old Perth Road.

His motion is �that the Town fly the rainbow flag in lieu of the Torres Straits Islander or the Town of Bassendean flag to show support for our gay and lesbian residents and marriage equality and staff to cost an additional flag pole�.

Cr Bridges stressed that it was not his intention to offend the Torres Strait Islander community.

�I mean no disrespect to Torres Strait Islanders, but I reckon there are far more gays and lesbians in our Town,� he said.

�The motion is framed so that it can be discussed and amended to suit at the next council meeting.

�An additional flag pole is the better option.�

Cr Gerry Pule, who was on the Town of Bassendean Reconciliation Action Plan 2012-2016 committee, said removing the TSI flag would undo its work.

�We worked so hard on the message of reconciliation,� he said. �We do not have many Torres Strait Islanders in Bassendean but I do not support removing their flag. Raising their flag is following national protocol.�

Cr Bridges said flying the rainbow flag was a step forward in acceptance and support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community.

�Bassendean Council is not homophobic and we have an openly gay mayor, some staff members are gay and there are many gay and lesbian singles and couples in Bassendean,� he said.

�It�s a bright colourful flag and also reflects the progressive change in our growing Town.�

Cr Bridges said he did not expect any community backlash over the motion.

�Any opposition will be likely swamped by support,� he said.

�People�s sexuality transcends nationality, race, religious belief and political opinion and people who love each other should have the same rights as heterosexuals when it comes to recognising relationships and this should be without discrimination.�

Living Proud chairman Phil Hampton welcomed the LGBTI support.

�Any public show of support for LGBTI people and their right for equality in areas such as marriage can have a positive impact on their mental health and well-being, along with on that of their families and friends,� he said.

�As local government has traditionally been the first avenue of representation for diverse communities, their backing would be embraced as an important part of universal acceptance.

�This visible support for diversity at a local level would encourage younger generations who may question their sexuality or gender to be more open, honest and free about who they are and how they feel, which is a sign of a healthy and truly inclusive community.�

Western Australian Local Government Association President Lynne Craigie said she was not aware of any other WA councils flying the rainbow flag.

�Local Governments are not bound by any rules or regulations that dictate the raising of flags on their property,� she said.

�The vast majority however choose to follow the Commonwealth Government�s flag flying protocol.�

City of Marion council in South Australian in June passed a motion to fly the rainbow flag permanently outside its administration building.

It now flies six flags including the rainbow, council, State, National, indigenous and Torres Strait Island.

The City previously raised the flag once a year during Pride Festival.