CASEY councillor Lorraine Wreford has branded a council decision to refuse her request to attend a women’s conference as ‘sexist’.
Cr Wreford proposed at Tuesday night’s council meeting that council authorise her and Casey director community services Jennie Lee to attend the Going Public Conference for Women in the Public Sector and Politics in Sydney next month.
“I feel that this is a very important conference for me personally to attend,” Cr Wreford said. “I think it will help my ability in terms of being able to promote women’s issues both in council and the community.”
Mayfield Ward councillor Kevin Bradford attacked Cr Wreford’s reasons for wanting to attend the forum, accusing her of being “another councillor wanting to go on another wasted trip”.
“Here we go again,” he said. “What benefit did she get from the last conference?”
Cr Wreford defended her motivations for flying to Sydney, claiming she was able to use much of what she learnt from the last Going Public conference to speak at several women’s events in Casey.
“I gave my own time to speak at a few Women in Leadership community events,” she said. “But I feel that I can’t speak at these without networking and learning from other women’s experiences.”
Despite her best efforts to argue her case, the majority of councillors voted against Cr Wreford’s motion, leaving her shaking her head in frustration. “It is ridiculous,” she said.
The bickering between councillors continued in the tearoom during a fiveminute break, with Oatlands Ward councillor Mick Moreland calling Cr Bradford a “pathetic person”.
“You’re saying (to Cr Wreford) ‘I’ve gone to Tasmania but my trip is better than yours. How dare you go somewhere twice’,” he said.
“What a pathetic person.”