SPEAKING OUT: Southern Downs Regional Council mayor Tracy Dobie yesterday revealed she faced repeated online attacks.
SPEAKING OUT: Southern Downs Regional Council mayor Tracy Dobie yesterday revealed she faced repeated online attacks. Liana Turner

Warwick hits back at cyberbullying claims

AFTER speaking out about experiencing personal online attacks online, Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie has come under fire from some in the community who believe comments made about the councillor are reasonable criticism of council decisions.

Southern Downs Residents Action Group secretary Andrew Gale denied seeing comments related to Cr Dobie's family or mental health made by anyone on a facebook page the community group runs.

"I would dispute that anything is any worse that you would see in any daily newspaper by a cartoonist, rightly or wrongly,” he said.

Mr Gale said comments on social media were made by people frustrated by council decisions, but he did not consider it bullying.

Mr Gale claimed Cr Dobie had referred to some social media users as living in "dark houses” and said this caused offence to people.

He said the way forward was to communicate, adding the public had a right to criticise the performance of leaders. "I see there's motivation and need for change so I appreciate the opportunity to have the discussion as a community member however I just think it really is a gross over-reaction,” he said.

Another resident, who wished not to be named, said she welcomed the mayor's comments and hoped it would allow her to openly discuss allegations of bullying by council staff.

The resident said she tried unsuccessfully to meet with Cr Dobie.

"I hope she means what she says and she's willing to do something about this unacceptable behaviour,” the resident said.

Cr Dobie said she had not met with the individual as there was an ongoing investigation into complaints at the time, which she said were not related to bullying.

The mayor said there were now no active complaints related to bullying at the council.

"People who say there's bullying in council, please come forward with some evidence,” she said.

"I'm willing to meet with anyone who may be bullied by anyone in council.”

Cr Dobie denied saying on social media that people were living in "dark houses”.



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