Mt Isa mayor refuses to apologise over “ugly girls” call

(from The Courier Mail)

(because he’s so good looking himself…)

AN appeal for “ugly ducklings” to move to Mount Isa to help address a woman shortage has sparked calls for the Mayor to publicly apologise.

John Molony sparked widespread outrage with his comments that “with five blokes to every girl may I suggest that beauty-disadvantaged women should proceed to Mount Isa” in remote north-west Queensland. “Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face. Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness,” Cr Molony said. “Often those who are beauty-disadvantaged are unhappy with their lot. Some, in other places in Australia, need to proceed to Mount Isa where happiness awaits.” Yesterday the Mayor was not retracting his remarks, saying he was a person who “tells it like it is”.

“I’m a bloke who respects women. I believe we should look after women,” Cr Molony said. “I’m told men outnumber women here by five to one. If that’s the case, then perhaps it’s an opportunity for some lonely women.” But many others expressed disgust at the remarks, some describing them as “discriminatory and offensive”. Fellow councillor Jean Ferris said she had been inundated with phone calls from men and women disgusted by Cr Molony’s remarks. “It’s an absolute disgrace,” she said. “It’s not council’s view and it’s not mine. It’s hard when you’ve got to defend something someone else has said. We’re definitely appalled.”

Domestic violence resource worker Shirley Slann also called for the Mayor to publicly apologise. “It’s a public attack on women and a form of verbal and emotional abuse,” Ms Slann said. “It paints the women here as second rate and suggests the men will settle for anything. I think it’s quite disgusting. If he wants to come and visit our service, I’m more than happy to have a yarn to him about what he’s saying.” Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce manager Patricia O’Callaghan said Cr Molony could expect a “fierce backlash”. “They’re very archaic comments. I don’t think he realises the repercussions of labelling women based solely on their looks,” she said.

The 25-year-old businesswoman chose to return to Mount Isa after completing her degree in Brisbane because of the opportunities and lifestyle the town offered. “The article didn’t paint a very good picture of the men here either. But I’ve never been treated with anything but the utmost respect. I’ve never walked into a club and been preyed upon. They’ve been lovely,” she said.

Mount Isa Deputy Mayor Les Bunn said the female drought was not as pronounced as Cr Molony suggested. “The 2006 Census shows where there is an imbalance it’s not an extreme one,” Cr Bunn said. “I am concerned about the gender imbalance but not issues such as looks. That’s pretty superficial.”

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~ by k-rock and l-jive on August 18, 2008.

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