Cumberland book ban: Premier Chris Minns labels council move a ‘joke’ after removal of same-sex books

Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
2 Min Read
NSW Premier Chris Minns criticised a vote by Cumberland City Council to ban same-sex books from libraries.
NSW Premier Chris Minns criticised a vote by Cumberland City Council to ban same-sex books from libraries. Credit: AAP

NSW Premier Chris Minns has added his voice to mounting criticism of a Sydney council after they voted to ban same-sex parenting books in their community libraries, labelling the decision a “joke.”

Cumberland City Council sparked outrage earlier this week after former Mayor and Councillor Steve Christou successfully introduced a ban on all same-sex parenting books and materials from the council’s eight libraries, citing concerns over the “safety of our children.”

During the council meeting, Christou expressed concerns over what he described as “disturbing” constituent complaints regarding the presence of such books, particularly one titled “Same-Sex Parents” by Holly Duhig, in the children’s section of the library.

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Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Minns told reporters, “It’s a library – you can choose to read a book or not.“

“What a joke; he should trust his own citizens enough to walk into a library and read whatever the hell they want.”

Minns also highlighted the potential political motivation for the vote’s timing saying: “It seems to me to be engineered by one of these councillors because there is an election coming up.”

A petition to reverse Cumberland City Council’s ban on same-sex parenting books in libraries has been created on Change.org.

One constituent who signed the petition, Tori-Alice Girdham, said: “My family has a right to exist and be represented within public libraries in my local area”

“I am a Greystanes resident of eight years, this is my home and I would like to continue to feel welcomed to attend story time with my wife and children,” Ms Girdham continued.

At publication, the petition had secured over 7,500 signatures in just over a day.

NSW Arts Minister John Graham accused the council of censorship, warning that such actions could jeopardise the library’s funding.

“When civilisations turn to burning books or banning books it is a very bad sign. That is equally true for local councils,” Graham told The Guardian.

Cumberland City Council were approached for comment on Wednesday and Thursday but are yet to provide a statement.

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