Cumberland Councillor Doubles Down on Same-Sex Parents Book Ban

14 May 2024

2.1 MINS

By George Al-Akiki

Cumberland councillor Steve Christou has stood by his successful motion to remove children’s books depicting same-sex parenting from the council’s libraries despite a NSW Government threat to remove funding over the decision.

Minister for Arts John Graham likened the council’s amendment to its library strategy to censorship, saying, “It is up to readers to choose which book to take off the shelf,” the ABC and The Guardian reported.

“We are examining the consequences this decision may have for the council continuing to receive library funding from the NSW Government,” he added.

But Christou reinforced his position, telling Today Show host Karl Stefanovic on 8 May:

“If the government wants to take away funding from one of the most socially disadvantaged communities in NSW because their democratically elected council stood up for the values which they believe represents their local community — well shame on them, and I would urge them not to do that.”

Same-Sex Parents bookConstituents’ Concerns

During the Cumberland City Council meeting on 1 May, Christou held up an image of a book he said he had received complaints about from local parents, titled Same-Sex Parents by Holly Duhig, which features two men and a child on the front cover.

He argued that sexualised material didn’t belong in a community holding religious and family-oriented values.

“Our kids shouldn’t be sexualised, it’s that simple,” he said.

“Regardless of their religion, whether they are Catholic, Orthodox, Islamic, Hindu. Whatever their background, they all have the same beliefs — family, religious values and conservative,” he said.

“They don’t want such controversial issues going against their beliefs, indoctrinated into their libraries. It is imperative that we take a stand. Our community don’t want this.

“Hands off our kids.”


Councillor Diane Colman vehemently rejected the motion as proceedings heated up, saying the ban would be a threat to “our freedoms as Australians.”

“We don’t want some old-fashioned book burning here in Cumberland. Governments at all levels have a responsibility to consider our residents’ interests in contemporary issues without promoting or suppressing particular beliefs and ideas,” she said.

“I’m totally against this attempt at censorship. Our freedoms are just as important in Cumberland as they are in the rest of Australia.”

The motion was won by a slim margin of six votes to five with councillors Christou, Greg Cummings, Paul Garrard, Helen Hughes, Mohamad Hussein and Michael Zaitar all in favour.

The decision has also been criticised by LGBT advocates and several politicians, including Independent Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich, who took to X, formerly Twitter.

“Library books don’t cause harm, but bigots do,” Greenwich wrote.

NSW Labor MP Rose Jackson condemned Councillor Hussein in particular, noting he was the only Labor councillor in favour of the strategy amendment.

“Gay [and] lesbian families exist everywhere in NSW. Book bans should exist nowhere,” she said.

“Don’t like books? Don’t read them.”

The controversy comes only months after the same council rejected drag-queen story time events for children following community backlash, a decision also headed by Christou.

A petition to overturn the decision will be presented at the next local council meeting on 15 May.


Republished with thanks to The Catholic Weekly. Image courtesy of RDNE Stock Project.

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  1. H 14 May 2024 at 8:52 am - Reply

    What a win!
    But the other side are using the same old illogical arguments. Children do have to see them, as they are on display. No it is not censorship, because it is all available online to adults. And when supporting the immoral communities is what the public wants, the government gives it to them.

  2. Christine Crawford 14 May 2024 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Interesting that there is such an uproar about this book, but nary a word about the treatment of the Jews…

  3. Cecily Mac Alpine 15 May 2024 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    The report of the banning of the book, “Same-sex Parents”, by the Cumberland City Council in NSW has caused controversy. (ABC 08/05/24). I commend the Council for this brave action. Although the content of the book does not suggest immoral behaviour towards children, it is a ‘stepping stone’ in that direction in my opinion.

    Older readers might remember the public outrage when the Gay and Lesbian Association planned to hold paedophile workshops during their 10th National Conference held at the University of Queensland during vacation in 1984. The University Senate closed them down but a news letter was circulated on campus with an article by the then President of the Paedophile Support Group, Emu Nugent. In it he wrote some alarming words:

    “There are no children visible in the gay movement…. Why can’t kids vote, seek employment, live where and with whom they want, or take an active or creative role in our society? Childhood is the last bastion of patriarchal capitalism and we must take up the struggle.”

    They did just that, whittling away at society’s attitudes and the legal protections which aim to keep children safe from predators and from their own immature judgment. They have had some success but the time has come for the public to be outraged again and to push back against this tide in the interests of its children.

    Some of that “push back” has come from concerned members of the same-sex community. After the same-sex marriage vote was taken, two homosexual men were interviewed for the ABC’s 7.30 Report. They had voted ‘No’ in the Survey and warned of the move to lower the age-of-consent.

    Wendy Francis of the Australian Christian Lobby has also warned that Wear It Purple Day, driven by overseas interests, has a hidden agenda (ACL website 13/04/21). “Wear it Purple” is a member organisation of ILGA World (the International Lesbian, Gay, bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association) which has been lobbying for governments to cease child protection practices and to lower the age of consent. Beware Wear It Purple Day !

    I hope more councils will follow the lead of the Cumberland City Council and will also remove from libraries any books seeking to sexualise children or promote immoral relationships.

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