To Mayor Tina Samardzija, Councillors and Chief Executive Officer Andy Diamond,
As a Senator elected to represent the people of Victoria, I have received an overwhelming volume of communication about an upcoming drag queen story time event to be hosted by the Council. Due to the public concern, I decided to attend your public council meeting on 26th April 2023 to hear for myself how the Council deals with these types of community concerns.
It was clear to me that many concerned residents attended the council meeting with the intention of protecting the innocence of children and to question the decision of the council to use rate payer money to host drag story time events for minors. I am disappointed that many of the questions submitted by the residents went unheard and unanswered.
I condemn the City of Monash for allowing the council’s facilities to be used for the purpose of drag story time for young and impressionable children aged 1 to 6 years. The concerns of the citizens are abundantly clear and, in my opinion, justified. It has come to my attention that some of the books that could potentially be read may include;
Jacob’s School Play Starring He, She, and They which – “introduces readers to gender identity and pronoun use”
She’s my dad – “an illustrated picture book that tells the story of Mini and her dad Haley, a transgender woman”
The hips on the Drag go swish swish swish – “a quirky twist on a classic nursery rhyme by illustrating all of the ways to “work it”. The story plays off “The Wheels on the Bus” as it follows a drag queen who performs her routine in front of an awestruck audience.”
Individuals who dress up as highly sexualised caricatures should not be promoted as appropriate to children. Last night the Mayor, in reference to queer theory and gender identity, said that “Children are never too young to receive such messages”. I will challenge the Mayor on this and say that children should be left to be children and they should not be exposed to these concepts as these are entirely adult in nature. Simply, let kids be kids, life is hard enough for our children without having to add gender confusion into the mix.
It is outrageous that the councillors think it is appropriate to promote these events to children as young as one. How can the council justify using the scarce resources of hardworking rate payers for these events?
It is a sad reflection on our times that councillors cannot see the terrible havoc that these workshops can potentially inflict on impressionable young children. I hope they will, on reflection, decide to use the council’s resources to provide more positive support for young people and their families.
As the Council has stated that they will carry on unabated with the drag queen story time. I ask the council to prove that they are truly committed to equality, appreciation of diversity and non-discrimination. Will the council commit to opening the same venue at Oakleigh library to myself to host a future conservative story time?
I look forward to receiving your response.
Senator Ralph Babet
Senator for Victoria