No cash but plenty of comment

At Tuesday nights Lismore City Council meeting a motion by Cr Ros Irwin to donate $80 to a female Cambodian local government politician for a bicycle had insults flying across the chamber.

Speaking against the motion Cr Graham Meineke called the suggestion absolute nonsense and said charity should begin at home.

This is the sort of donation that should come from Rotary or the Lions Club, Cr Meineke said. If we approve this, what next? Wheelchairs for female casualties of the civil war from the Republic of the Congo? Its a silly move and if Cr Irwin had not said to me privately that she was not standing for re-election in September I would suggest she was doing this for the publicity.

Cr Jenny Dowell said she was so insulted by Cr Meinekes insinuations about Cr Irwin that, although she hadnt originally been going to speak on the motion, she felt compelled to.

To suggest that Cr Irwin is moving this motion to score political points is insulting, Cr Dowell said. My general feeling is that all issues should go through the budgetary process but in this case its a token amount of $80 that will make a real difference.

Let us not forget that in Cambodia there are people racked by pain, torture and war and if we can help the democratic process there we should.

Cr John Hampton said he thought it was a political donation and didnt understand why it should go to a woman and not a man.

In her right of reply Cr Irwin claimed women in Cambodia didnt have the same level of access to transport as men and said a bicycle would enable the politician to visit her constituents.

Cr Irwins motion was defeated 7/5 (Crs Irwin, Dowell, Tomlinson, Ekins and Swientek for).

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