By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A conservative Casey councillor rift has been laid bare, with Casey mayor Sam Aziz imploring his councillor Rosalie Crestani to “grow up” after a planning meeting on 8 August.
During debate on a proposed Berwick Springs roundabout, Cr Crestani appeared to round on mayor Sam Aziz before he successfully struck down her comments on a point-of-order for irrelevance.
Cr Crestani was the only councillor to abstain from the vote, although stating the planning process was commendable and that there was a need for more road infrastructure.
Her dissent was based on “something that needed to be said”.
Cr Crestani said that she had been sent to a councillor code-of-conduct panel for calling “someone a bully” three years ago.
She said she recently apologised to a Berwick Springs resident for behaviour that “put City of Casey at great reputational risk”.
She told Star News that she was referring to Cr Aziz’s “disappointing” comments against opposing residents, despite demeaning protest signs depicting the mayor being planted around Berwick Springs.
“I removed myself out of the vote in protest. We have to behave and treat our residents better.”
Cr Aziz later said that Cr Crestani had not forgiven him for abstaining from support for her “ridiculous” motion for the council to oppose marriage equality the previous week.
It was dangerous territory for Casey to steer into issues that had nothing to do with local government, he said.
“We can’t be distracted by personal, ideologically-driven agendas.”
He said it was “irresponsible” and “appalling” of Cr Crestani to use a planning matter to serve as “payback”.
“My message to her is to grow up.”
Cr Crestani told Star News that she was “gob-smacked” by Cr Aziz’s comparison of her motion to taking issue with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and missions to Mars.
This ignored the voice of 700 Casey residents who signed to a petition calling for no change to the Marriage Act, she said.
“I don’t know if I consider (my abstaining) was payback. We talk about playing as a team and the conservatives that say one thing behind closed doors and then when it comes to the vote they abstain.
“I’m hoping people know it’s not being dropped now. There’s going to be more movement because I can’t ignore it.”