Edition 1 – FIRSTSUN 07 FEB 2010, Page 014 HERALD SUN
Council race row
By PETER ROLFE
A RACE row has erupted at a Melbourne council with a former Greens candidate accused of telling a fellow councillor not to vote on “Asian matters” because he has a Korean wife.
Manningham Cr Ivan Reid accused Cr David Ellis of telling him to butt out of Asian issues that arise on the council.
The council’s first public meeting of the year was last week rocked by the allegation, which has been verified by Manningham Mayor Charles Pick, but angrily denied by Cr Ellis.
Cr Reid told the council meeting Cr Ellis had a “hidden cultural agenda” over the proposed expansion of an all-Chinese nursing home in Donvale.
“He stated that I should abstain from Asian issues because my wife is Asian,” Cr Reid told the meeting.
But Cr Ellis, who tried four times to stop his colleague making the claim on a “point of order”, described the statement as “toxic”.
“I made no such comment,” he told the meeting.
Cr Reid, who has Scottish and Chinese heritage, said Cr Ellis made the statement at a meeting between the pair and Cr Pick about seven weeks ago.
“He started saying that because my wife is a Korean I should
declare a conflict of interest in any Asian matters and not get
involved in any Asian matters,” he said. “I was shocked. I think there might be an ethnic angle he’s got and I think people can draw their own conclusions.”
Cr Pick said: “I can’t deny that it happened, but we’re committed to moving forward.
“I’d say it was a regrettable moment and all councillors should stay away from personal matters.”
Cr Ellis said the accusation was “a total lie”.
“I think the fact that Cr Reid has chosen to stoop and play the race card on a political matter trivialises the community and I trust he will apologise,” he said.
He accused the council of rushing through planning approval for a 180-bed nursing home.
Your council rates at work: listen to audio from the council meeting at heraldsun.com.au
Caption: Local fight: Manningham’s Cr Ivan Reid with wife Happy Kim and son Christian, and (below) Cr David Ellis. Main picture: MITCH BEAR
IllusBy: MITCH BEAR