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November 29, 2021

Police complaint lodged over council shoe-throwing incident

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Cr Rose Wanchap during heated debate at last Thursday's  Byron Shire Council meeting. Photo Eve Jeffery
Cr Rose Wanchap during heated debate at last Thursday’s Byron Shire Council meeting. Photo Eve Jeffery


Chris Dobney

A police complaint has been lodged against Byron Shire Cr Rose Wanchap after she threw a pair of shoes at a member of the public during last Thursday’s council meeting.

Veteran council watcher and Wanchap objector Jim Beatson was sitting in the gallery when the target of his approbation removed her shoes and threw them in his direction, narrowly missing him and another member of the public.

Mr Beatson has spent the months since Cr Wanchap’s defection from the Greens party, on whose ticket she was elected, calling for her resignation – including loudly from the public gallery during council meetings.

In his complaint to police Mr Beatson says, ‘For almost an hour I sat silently watched in disbelief as cries of protest erupted from the gallery as the five majority councillors (Wanchap, Ibrahan, Woods, Cubis and Hunter) made it clear that they would allow consideration of increasing the height of buildings in a section of Byron Bay’s CBD without public consultation and, later, that they would initially spend up to a million dollars on placing a rock wall at the Belongil spit.’

‘As the crescendo of gallery interjections increased, I called out, twice, that these votes on council [were only possible] because of Cr Wanchap’s defection. I exclaimed “Rose received only 31 personal votes” and had only been elected as result of receiving 3,448 Greens votes,’ Mr Beatson’s complaint continues.

‘At that point she took off a shoe stood up and threw the shoe with force at me. She missed. Within several seconds she then threw her other shoe at me again in great anger and with as much force as she could muster hitting the armrest between the person sitting next to me, Peter Gough, and myself.

‘Regardless of the sex of the councillor seeking to physically assault me, no councillor or any other person has the right to make a physical attack on anyone either at council or anywhere,’ the complaint reads.

Code of Conduct

The incident, which was covered by a local TV station, could also be the subject of a Code of Conduct complaint, after at least one Byron Shire Councillor declined to rule out the possibility.

Cr Duncan Dey told Echonetdaily, however, that ‘verbal violence and legal, accusatory-style interrogation by some councillors [in] questions to Cate Coorey was far more violent than the shoe-throwing incident.

But Cr Dey said he would ‘ask staff how bad the behavior has to get before it becomes a matter for a complaint under council’s Code of Conduct (COC).’

He added that the COC ‘is a very long document and is underwritten by the Local Government Act,’ implying that complaints under the COC should not be instigated lightly.

Neverthless, he told Echonetdaily, ‘I’m glad it’s been raised.’

But he said he did not want ‘the Rose issue to distract from what’s going on in council. What’s happening with these issues is despicable. I don’t want the sideshow distracting from those.’

He admitted, however, that the Greens had made ‘ a mistake preselecting her.’

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    • Gutsy Beatson stands up for democratic continuity, and against turn-coats, which is highly Australian of him, wouldn’t you agree John??

    • That’s quite right John,
      by now, everyone should know how to ignore and discount violence committed by women. How else can we manufacture the “correct” data about violence against women ?

      • Good for mr Beatson! and exactly what is the point of your attempt to ridicule the victim John? either its pretty pathetic humour john, or you are carrying a bias in favour of the aggressor but don’t have the balls to state it? you add nothing to this discussion john with comments like that!
        Wanchap apparently lost control. why would this be? seems most likely that the comments about her morally corrupt position on council- i.e. used the greens to get elected and then doing a 180 degree turn around from the policies she was elected to advocate and implement. in the process she shows a complete and utter disregard for her community and acts only for herself. this is a path to self-destruction. its going to get uglier, sadder, more pathetic and more damaging as she self destructs.

  1. When council meetings become high farce, I wonder how anything is accomplished. I was stunned by the drama. But what really concerned me was the lck of consideration by the councillors about the community interest in the Roundhouse property which is held in trust for the community and has been co opted by council to sell off and pay bills. No councillor except for a brief acknowledgement by Rose, even spoke to the issue. After spending a fortune on a mock community consultation which yielded many members of the community speaking for retaining this public land, the council made clear it was already decided.

    • It’s called ‘The Delphi Technique’. It was designed/adapted by the ‘United Nations’ to implement ‘Agenda 21’ on the local level, worldwide. Of course it’s also used by ‘corporations’ especially developers, (whom council seem to work for) to feign community interest and to identify potential ‘troublemakers’.
      There is a plethora of video’s on youtube exposing this technique.

  2. Rose’s behaviour belongs in the pre-school playground and it is a good thing that Jim Beatson is making this public. I do hope the staff can also find she has breached the Council’s COC and call her to account in some small way. She is a wild card and a damaging force as the majority vote. No wonder the Greens feel considerable remorse at having added her to their ticket without proper scrutiny. The local economy, the management of our infrastructure and the health of our land and sea, are all taking a belting while this fascist clique of 5 run rampant on the Shire. We can expect no community consultation and no expert advice hindering their ideology. A fine pickle we are in.

  3. Violence and aggressive behaviour can never be condoned in a civilised society. If Cr Wanchap was a man and threw his shoes at a female, there would be DUE public outrage. This is completely unacceptable behaviour.

  4. Jim is standing up for the rights of the community, who Rose deceived during the elections and continues to now.

    She threatened to slap a woman during a protest and now throws shoes in council chambers. She demonstrates questionable behaviour and an aggressive nature, she isn’t fit to represent her community let alone hold the balance of power in many, many vital decisions affecting the future of the Bay.

  5. Jim do you still have the shoes? If they fit the feet wear them. Good to see some Middle Eastern customs have reached the Far North. Could they be auctioned to raise funds for the Greens for the next council election in September 2016. Bring it on.

  6. Has anyone stopped to assess why Rose moved away from the Greens in the first place?
    As for the Radical Green hecklers that stage protests and Banner waving outside private businesses like Rose Wanchaps office, and also abuse the woman Via the local papers.
    They also make personal attacks while she is in Council Chambers and cant move away due to her responsibility to her position. YOU HEROS! You cant get your own way!
    You should have caught the shoe and then left the meeting with it. Now that would have hurt!
    Unlike some people in her position she realised she could not follow the party line and had the guts to say so.
    She has paid her price and now at least speaks her truth as she sees it.
    Like it or lump it.
    Or stand for Council, and give up your valuable time.
    People that behave like intimidating thugs should be ejected from the meeting by the Mayors order and security.

  7. Zero tolerance for physical aggression! To be an elected government representative does not exempt that person from this basic principle. For government representatives to be threatening and intimidating is wrong, against any democratic process. If Julia Gillard or Hilary Clinton threw her shoes at anyone anywhere, she would be handing in her resignation within hours, as well as publicly apologizing. Public condemnation would be very clear and swift.

    Even more outrageous is Cr Wanchap’s reenactments for media on Belongil Beach. Throwing a different pair of shoes, only admitting to throwing one, claiming she is standing up for harassed politicians everywhere, playing up to television? This is shameful. This is a blatant manipulation. Her aggressive behaviour and lack of control is her proud moment? No. She should resign and apologize to the two members of the public, the council and the rest of the community.

    • Mary, I agree that physical aggression cannot be condoned in any way, but there should be zero tolerance for aggression full stop. Jim has continually hurled verbal abuse at Rose on a regular basis and at one point has had to be physically removed from the council chambers. He repeatedly creates an unsafe environment with his constant harassment and the sad and sorry fact is that the mayor has allowed this behaviour to continue. Jim should have had stricter behavioural restrictions placed on him in the first place, as would have been required in other workplaces. This is precisely the reason why Simon Richardson is so reluctant to have a CoC enquiry.

      Jim’s pathetic and constantly shouted ’31 votes’ line means nothing – Rose wasn’t going for the place of mayor in the first place, so the fact that 31 people voted for Rose above everyone else is actually amazing in itself. How many people in general vote no.1 for someone below the line that isn’t even going for the position of mayor? How many people vote below the line at all? Jim’s stance is particularly interesting given he was the Greens member to ‘head hunt’ her for a position on the Greens ticket in the first place, to which she swiftly overtook him in place of priority for the election – again, not of her own doing mind you, but that of the Greens members preference. That’s right, Rose never went out of her way to be a politician – it was the Greens who sought her out.

      Unfortunately, they didn’t realise Rose is a strong willed and tireless person with her heart embedded in community who, apart from reluctantly rising to the daunting challenge of being politically vilified, goes out of her way to research, meet with relevant people and vote free from prejudice to the best of her ability. This obviously didn’t work out, what with being part of a Party who expect you to vote following strict party lines (even though its technically illegal) but I don’t believe Rose nor the Greens could foresee the political and personal gravity of the decisions made around recruitment.

      We all know that this latest photographed police complaint stunt is exactly that – a political stunt, no doubt with a hefty personal nature to it. The irony is not lost on me that Rose succeeded in receiving a councillor position where both Jim and the other complainant Maggi Luke have both failed dismally. I didn’t see Rose making a photographed political stunt of the harassment complaint she made to police against Jim himself some months ago, but then again she isn’t someone who sees politics as a game.

  8. Councillor Rosalind Wanchap must have delusions that she is in Baghdad and the target of her “missile” bears a resemblance to George Bush.


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