Councillors call for change to legislation to combat cyber-bullying
Southern Downs Regional Councillors are taking a united
stand against bullying, expressing their support for SDRC Mayor, Cr Tracy Dobie’s
anti-bullying campaign and calling for amendments to State and Federal Government
Mayor Dobie addressed Councillors at Council’s January
General Meeting on Wednesday, highlighting the issue of cyber-bullying within
the community and encouraging Councillors to espouse change.
Cr Dobie is taking a series of actions over the coming weeks
in the lead up to National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence on March
16, to help raise public awareness about cyber-bullying.
“While the majority of people who use social media do not
contribute to this sort of behaviour, there are a small number who do, and I
believe they are having a negative effect on our community,” Cr Dobie said.
“These people believe they can write whatever they want
about other people. They do this
repeatedly and their intention is to cause distress to the person they are
“It not only has a profoundly negative impact on individuals
but it is to the detriment of our community.
“We all have to take a stand about the way in which our
society conducts itself.”
Deputy Mayor Jo McNally addressed her fellow Councillors
calling for Amendment Bills to be introduced to Federal and State Parliament to
change legislation to include cyber-bullying as a criminal offence, and
applauded Cr Dobie for raising awareness of the issue.
Councillor McNally will write to both the Federal and State
Attorney Generals and Federal and State Members on behalf of Southern Downs
“Madam Mayor, I applaud you and the strategy you have
implemented regarding bullying, you yourself have been a target of cyber-bullying,
like myself and others here in this room…and this is unacceptable behaviour,”
Cr McNally said.
“Cyber-bullying is not a criminal offence in any state or
“Both state and federal legislation demonstrates the need to
widen the scope of stalking provisions to combat the increase in cyber-bullying
within our community.”
The Councillors unanimously supported Cr McNally’s motion
which was seconded by Councillor for Rural, Environmental, Sustainability and
Waste Management, Cameron Gow.
Councillor for Water and Waste Water, Vic Pennisi said calling upon State and Federal Government
was the most effective way to tackle cyber-bullying.
“In my view going to the higher level is the right way to go
about it, it is where we as a local government can have the most amount of
impact to introduce a form of regulation,” Cr Pennisi said.
Councillor for Regional Promotion, Tourism and the Arts, Rod
Kelly shared some of his own personal experiences and said it was time to take
a stand after he and his family had been subjected to cyber-bullying for the
past two years.
Cr Kelly congratulated the Deputy Mayor on her motion and Cr
Dobie for standing up against cyber-bullies.
“Change is needed and together, as a community, it is time
to take a stand. All of the Councillors support the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor
in their efforts to take action against cyber-bullies.” Cr Kelly said.