Letter writer defends her 'satirical humour'
EVERYWHERE Ann Conquest goes these days, she keeps a copy of a letter she penned earlier this month in her pocket.
That's so if anyone asks the Bargara woman what she said to become embroiled in a "racism” controversy, she can produce the letter and let them make a judgement for themselves.
Last week, Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said there was "no place for racism or prejudice in public debate”.
He referred to a letter Ms Conquest wrote and other general social media posts before going on to say there was an anti-Chinese sentiment in some quarters regarding the controversial Bargara high-rise.
"To refer to an individual's ethnicity in a derogatory way is insulting and should be condemned,” Cr Dempsey said.
Ms Conquest has defended her letter, stating she was simply trying to communicate her view in "a lyrical, comical way”.
She said people who had known her for a long time had repeatedly asked her what she had said to have provoked such a response.
"Every single person I've shown has not understood the mayor's response,” Ms Conquest said yesterday.
The NewsMail published an edited version of Ms Conquest's letter which she had also sent to council bosses.
In her letter, entitled 'Chinese Developer's Magic power in Bundaberg', Ms Conquest referred to "Taoist magic”.
"Taoist magic is something that gives someone the power to move something forward. I really didn't think it would be offensive,” she said yesterday.
"I even mentioned Harry Potter and night busses to carry that magical theme.
"My letter was meant light heartedly, and it was just very upsetting that the process has gone the way it has,” Ms Conquest said.
She acknowledged she had a previous legal battle against council over land use but said that had nothing to do with her current views.
Yesterday a spokesman for Cr Dempsey said it was disappointing the NewsMail was reporting this story given the opinion editor deleted Chinese references from the letter because he believed they were racist.
"The Mayor's social media post condemned anti-Chinese sentiment generally and didn't identify Ms Conquest by name,” he said.
"It's a shame that some people have referred to the developer's ethnicity in social media commentary. The Bundaberg Region is an inclusive community and people from all backgrounds are welcome here to live, work and invest.”
Ms Conquest has penned a follow-up letter. See Page 14.