Letters to the editor

Councillor's speech 'discourteous' to Gillard

I have never attended a book launch at which a distinguished author was insulted by the official who was meant to be introducing them, by saying words to the effect that the book was not worth buying.

This is what happened at the launch of Julia Gillard's book My Story at the Civic Centre in Camden last week.

This was an event organised by Camden Library and Random House publishers.

The official in question was a local councillor who was supposed to be representing the mayor of Camden in a welcome speech to a very distinguished former prime minister and author Julia Gillard.

During the introductory speech, the councillor, daughter of a Liberal MP, peppered her speech with personal political opinions, despite this not being a political event, and despite "wearing the hat" of the Camden mayor.

She then completed her introduction with the statement: "I will read your book, but only borrow it from the library".

The comments in her introduction were, in my opinion, not only inappropriate, but were discourteous and very unprofessional.

Kathy Kyle, Camden

Welcome embarrassing

I felt privileged to be in Camden Civic Centre this morning to hear Ms Gillard's insights into her turbulent time as our first female prime minister.

She was honest about her achievements and did not shy away from her mistakes.

Her responses to questions were truly authentic and thoroughly respectful of all questioners.

Ms Gillard's eloquence, engaging personality and wry humour made the occasion memorable.

Thank you to Camden Library staff and council officers who organised the event.

Ms Gillard entered the civic centre to a standing ovation from a packed audience.

The warmth of the welcome she received was spontaneous and heartfelt.

It was disappointing and embarrassing, however, to endure the party political, begrudging "welcome" from councillor Penny Fischer.

Councillor Fischer, you did not speak for me; nor, I suspect, for the overwhelming majority of those present.

In future, when you are unable to genuinely welcome a guest of our community, I suggest you step aside to allow the occasion to be launched with appropriate grace and dignity.

Leonie Kelly, Narellan