On the 11th of August at 6:30pm, Strathfield Council held an “Extraordinary Council Meeting”
at Strathfield Town Hall, where nearly 300 people gathered to seek an outcome. It had a heavy atmosphere with two tough looking security guards going through everyone’s belongings at the entrance.
Just before the meeting began, there was a rush for extra chairs from the back as the meeting on this controversial issue had attracted more people to this local town hall. More than 100 Japanese who responded to AJCN’s call took up positions in front rows; they gave vigorous applause for speakers going against the proposal of the controversial statue.
<captured placards of KACA by AJCN>
Six councillors voted unanimously to reject the proposal of building a statue called “Three Sisters” in Strathfield Station Square, which was submitted by KACA (The Committee of United Austral Korean-Chinese Alliance against Japanese War Crimes) on 25th March 2014 to the council.
After the public hearing on 1 April 2014, the council deferred the decision to ministerial offices including the Prime Minister’s office and NSW Premier’s office, and then the proposal was stalled for 16 months as nobody wanted to make a decision for the council.
In the meeting on 11 August, four speakers from each side were allowed to lay out the points of their arguments for 5 minutes each.
Right after the speeches, 6 councillors expressed their views for 5 minutes each over the proposal of building the “Three Sisters” statue, and then took a vote to close the meeting.
Since there was a recommendation announced prior to the meeting by council management official that the statue won’t meet the criteria of the Council’s Memorial Policy, and there shouldn’t be any further actions, the vote was actually questioning whether they would endorse the recommendation.
The result was six to zero, all councillors supporting the recommendation and rejecting the KACA's proposal. Councillor Sang Ok (Korean descent) was absent from the proceedings due to a conflict of interest in this matter.
AJCN is through the battle of 16 months or more, based on the non-confrontational rationalism in our prospectus and consistently, continues the civil activities of different dimensions from the government level such as Federal, State, etc. AJCN 's actions were totally civil to protect the present and the future of all women and children by working together with Australians, Europeans, Americans, Chinese, Koreans and other people. Our ultimate goal for this battle is not only for protecting Japanese descendants’ peaceful life and pride in Australia, but more importantly to observe the Australia’s multiculturalism by securing a sound relationship with various ethnic groups. We won the battle.
Anti Japan Chinese-Korean organisation officially states that their statue building lobbying will continue in other councils of Australia, AJCN will analyse and theorise our recent movement to develop a "Sydney model" and share this series of actions to fight against political propaganda in order to maintain harmonious communities.
Although it was clear from the beginning the proposal evidently would breach the council policy, 16 months were wasted. It was extremely unusual to conduct the second round of speeches to argue the case. After all, we have come to the realisation that our democratic society provide us with the tools for protecting ourselves if we choose to battle, but we easily stumble if we do nothing.
We would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who was involved in this movement and to all who gave us support.
Please find below link for speeches and councilors’ comments.
Names of speakers and councilors who made a vote
1. Speakers (in order of speeches)
1. Mr.Brian Rycroft against
2. Mr.Peter Wertheim pro
3. Mr.Glenn McRae against
4. Mr.Panayiotis Diamadis pro
5. Mr.Geoff Boyce against
6. Mr.Dong Dong Yang pro
7. Mrs.Mieko Goto against
8. Miss.Yeo Ji Yan pro
2. Councilors who commented and voted (in order of speeches)
1. Cr Helen McLucas (Independent)
2. Cr Daniel Bott (Labor)
3. Cr Stephanie Kokkolis (Liberal)
4. Cr Andrew Soulos (Deputy Mayor, Independent)
5. Cr Gulian Vaccari (Mayor, Liberal)
6. Cr Raj Datta (Labor)