Mercury says: Petty attack a blow to democracy

EDITORIAL

Not everyone agrees with Wollongong City Councillor Greg Petty. Some people disagree strongly with his positions; many others voted him on to council.

This is democracy. If you oppose an elected representative, then vote them out.

Instead, some elements around Helensburgh have chosen intimidation, malicious damage and threats to make their point.

MORE: Lord Mayor Bradbery's comments

MORE: Petty's family living in fear

As an elected representative Cr Petty is entitled to expect support from the council he serves.

Instead, the council, and Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, appear keen to duck their responsibility.

Cr Bradbery yesterday spoke of how Cr Petty has contributed towards his troubles, and how he has taken a stance that some do not like. Therefore as a result, Cr Bradbery says, some people "bait" Cr Petty, like "sport".

Masked attacks on a man's house are not a sport, Mr Mayor. Neither is dumping asbestos in his driveway, or cutting the power to his house and thus disabling his security system, or taunting him from beyond the fence.

At best, the Lord Mayor's comments are limp. At worst, they come too close to pointing the finger at the victim. It is just not good enough.

Attacks on elected representatives must be met with the strongest of condemnation.

Whatever their personal or political views, the representative's colleagues - and in particular, the leader of the body he serves - must leave no doubt that they will not tolerate attacks of this nature. Their support must be unambiguous and unwavering.

In the absence of this leadership from our Lord Mayor, it is then left to us to say it.

Attacks of this nature have no place in a civilised society. We wish the police success in finding the culprits. People must not be subjected to attacks based on their political stance.

Deflecting the issue on radio yesterday, Cr Bradbery even called it a "civil" matter.

It is not, by any definition, a civil matter.

The attacks on Cr Petty's house are criminal, nothing less. And in their attempt to pervert the democratic process, they are also, Mr Mayor, an attack on the body you lead. They must be stopped.

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