Sticks and stones may break my bones: Pennisi
WHILE the Southern Downs Regional Council calls on lawyers to deal with what it says is defamatory harassment from Facebook users, councillor Vic Pennisi is crediting his family heritage for his decision to turn the other cheek.
Cr Pennisi was the only councillor to oppose a resolution to issue a cease and desist notice on controversial satire page, Southern Downs Reboot. The page has since been closed.
The ability to ignore criticism is one Cr Pennisi credits to his Italian immigrant family members, who weathered waves of criticism when they settled in Stanthorpe.
"We were called all the names you could think of and treated in ways no man deserves," Cr Pennisi said.
"However, my forebears, to their credit, put their shoulders to the grind and eventually earned respect."
The councillor said he did not support the cease and desist motion because he believed the council had "more important issues to focus on at the moment", such as the effect of drought on the local community.
"My personal view is that there are better ways to deal with these issues," he said.
"I was blessed with free will and as a result I know I can turn my iPad off at any time."
The councillor said he was not offended by comments made about him on Southern Downs Reboot and did not consider them defamatory
"In fact, I found some of the content quite humorous," he said.
But he said he respected the different views expressed by other members of the council.
Mayor Tracy Dobie said issuing the notice was necessary as the page targeted not only council staff, but also their family members and unrelated residents.
"I'm an elected representative and we have no issue with criticism," she said.
"But this is not political satire, this is crude, vulgar and obscene.
"If this was truly political satire and the people writing this rubbish had any respect for themselves, they'd write under their own name."
Cr Dobie said the council used only a small amount of the council's standard operating budget, which was accessible for any councillor or council staff that required legal representation.
The mayor said the Facebook page's speedy removal last night indicated the person behind it was only able to write the posts under the veil of anonymity.