Call for inquiry regarding councillor Christine Sindt

The Gippsland Trades and Labour Council has called on Latrobe City Council to request an independent audit of Cr Christine Sindt’s behaviour.

In an email to chief executive Gary van Driel last week, the union said it condemned views expressed by Cr Sindt regarding Islam and immigration, in particular her 18 March interview with ABC Melbourne radio host Jon Faine when she was asked whether she distinguished the difference between the Islamic community and radical extremists and replied “to me, it’s pretty much the same”.

“The GTLC also condemns Cr Sindt’s use of social media in her campaign against Islam and immigration and demands that the offensive posts on Facebook be removed immediately,” the email stated.

“The GTLC fully supports the Latrobe City being declared a ‘Refugee Welcome Zone’ and recognises the enormous contribution made by refugees and immigrants to the region, both at present and in the past.”

Mr Van Driel confirmed council had received the union’s complaint and was “also aware of community concerns about the same posts” on Cr Sindt’s Facebook page.

He said mayor Dale Harriman was currently considering “an appropriate course of action with regard to the complaints received”.

“Complaints of this nature are forwarded to the Mayor in accordance with the Councillor Code of Conduct for further action,” Mr Van Driel said.

“However, it is important to be aware that individual councillors are entitled to express their personal views under the Local Government Act 1989, but must make it clear that their views do not necessarily represent the views of the council.”

Cr Sindt’s Facebook page states it “does not necessarily represent the views of council as a whole”.

Attempts to contact Cr Sindt for comment were unsuccessful.