Laugh or cry? Which is it? Folks, you couldn't make this up if you tried.
THE New South Wales Government has urged a Sydney beachside council to rethink its decision not to fly the Australian flag over the iconic Bondi Pavilion amid suggestions the move was inspired by racial tensions. But Waverley Council's deputy mayor said Premier Morris Iemma didn't understand the facts and accused Liberal councillors of hijacking the issue for political gain.
Mr Iemma today urged the council to reconsider its 6-5 vote against flying the flag over the heritage-listed building.
"Our flag is a symbol of national unity and the council decision is just ridiculous, they want to reconsider it and reconsider immediately," he said.
"There's no excuse for anyone else to be saying 'Well, because of the incidents, the riots of two weeks ago we're not going to fly the Australian flag'. That is just ridiculous."
Waverley deputy mayor George Newhouse, who was among councillors who rejected the flag proposal, said it had nothing to do with racial tensions.
"We already fly the flag at Bondi, we proudly fly the flag at Bondi and this decision has absolutely nothing to do with racism or Cronulla. It has everything to do with practical common sense," Mr Newhouse said.
"The Pavilion is a heritage-listed building and it will cost thousands of dollars to perform a heritage study and then erect the poles, which don't exist."
"We already have the flag, we love the flag, there is no problem with the flag and as for council banning the flag, it's absolute nonsense."
Council had first voted against installing the flag in March 2005, Mr Newhouse said.
"To raise it again in December was purely to manipulate the flag and the Cronulla racism issue," he said.
He accused Liberal councillors of taking advantage of the race riots to raise the issue of the flag again, adding: "That is truly offensive."
Greens state MP Lee Rhiannon said Waverley Council was far from shy of flying the national flag.
"I have lived in Waverley municipality all my life and have seen the Australian flag flying on the council chambers and at appropriate municipal events," Ms Rhiannon said.
"Community tensions were running high at the time...the no-flag option is a sensible choice."
I guess the council just admitted that the racists have taken the flag..
Requesting a source and an article that isn't a poorly written jumble of quotes with no background or explanation.