FORGIVEN: Leeanne Enoch met with Fraser Coast councillor James Hansen over his comments last month.
FORGIVEN: Leeanne Enoch met with Fraser Coast councillor James Hansen over his comments last month. Alistair Brightman

Minister, councillor meet over 'racist' online comment

A FRASER Coast councillor who made offensive comments about Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch's Indigenous heritage has apologised for his comments and pledged to "champion cultural competence" in the future.

Councillor James Hansen answered a call from the Maryborough Aboriginal Corporation to meet with the group and Ms Enoch yesterday in the wake of a racially-charged social media scandal.

Last month, Cr Hansen landed in hot water after mentioning her skin colour in a Facebook discussion over the ex-HMAS Tobruk.

"And... apparently she's supposed to be black David, looks as white as you and I" Cr Hansen's now-deleted comment read.

The post sparked community outrage and calls for the long-serving councillor to resign.

Cr Hansen later apologised to Ms Enoch, admitting it was "a dumb question phrased poorly" and he had "no malice or bad intent...(and) certainly didn't mean to offend anyone".

Yesterday, Ms Enoch confirmed she had received a written letter of apology from Cr Hansen and had met with him over the scandal.

"We had a chance to explain the deep hurt that I felt at those comments but the deep hurt the community felt at those comments... (which were) deeply insulting and hurtful," Ms Enoch told the Chronicle.

"He came to that meeting and made some commitments to champion cultural competence, and a more reconciled relationship into the future in council.

"I know the community will be holding him to account on that."

Cr Hansen was contacted for comment, but did not respond before print deadline.



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