Admission of lies and discrimination against women’s rights advocate

The agenda of a Hobart City Council Special Council Meeting has been published. It is an account of the appalling treatment of councillor Lousie Elliot after she attempted to book the Town Hall for a women’s rights event.

Michael Stretton, the Chief Executive Officer, issued the report and conducted the special meeting. The CEO and Council acknowledged they lied and discriminated against Louise and issued an apology. An undisclosed compensation payout was also made.

The report detailed the order of events and asked the question, “Has Louise Elliot been denied procedural fairness or otherwise been unfairly treated?”

4.25.  The answer to that question is yes.

4.26.  It has been found that:

        -  Louise Elliot’s request to book the Town Hall Ballroom was deliberately blocked without due process;

        -  Louise Elliot was lied to when she was told that that the Town Hall Ballroom was not available on the dates she requested for her event;

        -  Louise Elliot’s RTI process was stifled on the basis that her request for a booking had not been rejected when in fact it had; and

        -  Louise Elliot was denied an opportunity to provide more information about the nature of her event so that an appropriate risk assessment could be undertaken.

It is clear that Louise Elliot was directly discriminated against by the organisation and consistent with the agreement reached through the EOT conciliation process, is owed an apology.

On behalf of the Council, I apologise for any stress, anxiety, frustration, embarrassment, and inconvenience caused by the conduct that has been outlined in this report.

It is appalling behaviour and a clear breach of law. It is unacceptable that any woman has to suffer for merely speaking up for female sex-based rights, spaces, services or sport.