Hobart residents are chortling into their
coffee cups over the revelation that lawyer and former Labor politician
John White has lodged a complaint with the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner against high profile Hobart City Council
alderman Marti Zucco, over the Battery Point coffee wars. The pizza
man called the ex-pollie a Mafia Don for trying to stop a small
business roasting coffee without a permit in the historic suburb – a
row which has split the community and attracted national media interest.

Zucco told The Mercury in January that Don Zucco was ready
to declare
war on Don White and his mafioso pals – including Sandra
Champion, who has also lodged a complaint. They want a public apology
for the humiliation they have suffered through constant teasing,
an assurance that such bullying will not happen again, a code of
conduct for aldermen, and compensation. This isn’t the first time Zucco
has been dragged before the Anti Discrimination Commissioner – Don
Zucco can be a brute and
tells Crikey he won’t apologise. But he is happy to offer compensation:
two dummies.

White claims unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race (being
called a Mafia Don) and political activity (the effect on community
attitudes towards him). In a lengthy statement of claim, he says: “I
work as a lawyer, and frequently do ‘de bono’ (sic) work, and have
been asked to assist Conway Wayne Richardson, a prisoner, who not only
has a long criminal record, but was one of the leaders of the Risdon
Gaol Siege in May 2005.”

“To be called a ‘Mafia Don’ ie head of a criminal organisation, when I
am acting for such a person, who is presently before the courts,
on serious complaints such as destruction of property and assaults, is
again something that I believe that one should not have to tolerate.
The juxtaposition of the name calling ‘Mafia Don’ and my acting for this particular criminal is totally unacceptable.”

Sandra Champion, an historian, claims unlawful discrimination on the grounds
or race, political activity and gender/sex. Zucco told The
Mercury
that White and Champion should move from Battery Point, where
they live with their respective families, to live in boxes in the
splendid isolation of central Australia.

In Champion’s claim, among other
things, she says Zucco’s comments are suggestive of “a relationship”
with White: “Alderman Zucco is telling me to leave the state and go and live alone
in a box with John White as my only neighbour. Alderman Zucco is
implying that I have an involvement with John White. This is offensive
in the extreme.”

Peter Fray

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