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Victoria: Councillor Suspension Over Gender Ideology Tweets Sparks Free Speech Uproar

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In Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, a debate over free speech has emerged following the suspension of Councillor Melissa Ferguson for her refusal to apologize for tweets that alleged the harms of gender ideology to women and children. Some of the tweets that Ferguson is being published over, were, in fact, retweets of other’s remarks.

Ferguson’s suspension has ignited a fierce debate.

Rachael Wong, CEO of Women’s Forum Australia, posted on X, “All of the tweets relate to the rights and safety of women and children, and weaponising them against her is harassment, an affront to free speech, and a shameful abuse of power.”

Wong also shared the tweets that Ferguson was challenged for sharing.

The controversy began when a Councillor Code of Conduct Panel declared Ferguson’s refusal to issue an apology serious misconduct. This decision stemmed from a review by Meredith Gibbs, appointed after complaints about Ferguson’s tweets were lodged by fellow councillor, Tracie Lund.

Gibbs upheld the complaints.

According to ABC News, which took a negative stance toward Ferguson, the public’s response peaked during a recent council meeting that attracted police attention due to anticipated protests. Although the police reported no notable incidents, the atmosphere inside was charged.

During the meeting, community figure Taylah Ling argued against what she viewed as an excessive crackdown on dissenting opinions.

Ling contended that council members ought to demonstrate more resilience in the face of controversial views, a position that Lund dismissed as overly simplistic and dismissive of the processes and impact of the misconduct.

The community’s support for Ferguson was evident when she concluded her statement and exited the meeting to significant applause, signaling strong backing for her stance on free speech.
Ferguson, who contends her social media activity was personal and non-violatory, has been vocal about feeling targeted for her views. She was barred from council activities for a month, which included missing a council meeting and losing access to council facilities.

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