Porkgate II: council staff grilled over pork to halal sausage ratios

Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun (foreground) and councillors dish out the skewers.


Despite being in the middle of an illegal asbestos dumping scandal and losing their CEO last night (Monday), Liverpool City councillors still found time at recent meetings to quarrel over the number of pork and halal sausages bought for a community barbecue and why the halal sausages were cooked first.

Liberal Councillor Peter Ristevski raised the burning issues in questions at an ordinary council meeting last month, grilling council staff on why the halal snags were barbecued first and asking for a breakdown of the type and volume of each sausage purchased.

The council’s shopping list for the free Kurrajong Road Community Barbecue in December last year was: 300 vegetarian patties, 650 halal beef sausage and 50 pork sausages and the food was cooked on three barbecues.

Mr Ristevski complained that too many halal sausages had been ordered and too few pork.

He told Government News that although the issue might appear trivial, he had been contacted by many of his constituents who felt that their Orthodox Christian religion had been sidelined in favour of Islam.

He said that Mayor Ned Mannoun, a fellow Liberal party councillor, had “disrespected other religions” and that he was attempting “a complete Islamisation of the city.”

“The mayor disrespected the entire Orthodox Christian community. He monopolised the barbecue. Heaps of people complained. Not everyone likes to eat halal sausages. They have a different taste.”

Mr Ristevski said he had been accused of being a racist just for asking questions about the food cooked at the barbecue.

When council staff addressed the councillor’s inquiries they replied that the standard order for council barbecue events had always been beef sausages and vegetable patties because the area had a high proportion of Arabic and Indian families and beef sausages were cheaper than pork.

“The fact that we have never previously had a request for pork sausage at a free BBQ indicating that pork eaters will eat beef (and therefore again, keeping our costs to the ratepayer lower),” said the response.

“To ensure that pork was available to anyone who requested it, they were held aside to be cooked on request. As the event was such a success all sausages and patties of all varieties were cooked and consumed.”

But Mr Ristevski said the Liverpool area had a higher proportion of Orthodox Christians than Muslims and halal sausages did not need to be cooked on each of the three barbecues.

Asked how many halal sausages were left over and how many pork sausages were left over council staff said: “all sausages were happily and gratefully consumed by members of the public.”

The sausage stoush has made the council a target of ridicule on Facebook. Comments on the Facebook page, ‘Boycott Halal in Australia? No way’ include: “Don’t let Cory Bernardi get a whiff of this. He’ll order another enquiry (sic).”

Another commented: “If he wanted them (sic) pork sausages by platefuls he should have done the shopping himself. Why are council money and work time wasted for this? Liverpool streets are shonky and they need to look at fixing potholes and broken curbs (sic) for what they are paid for.”

Making full use of three letter acronyms (TLA’s) one wag said: “Lol … OMG! It’s a bloody sausage! Halal or pork. No one should eat them!”

It is not the first time that Liverpool Council has made headlines over the volume of pork on ratepayers’ forks.

A Christian Orthodox interfaith lunch held at Liverpool Catholic Club in August last year managed to offend both the Christian Orthodox community and Hindus. The Christians were aggrieved because a traditional Macedonian pork dish was left off the menu and Hindus were upset because beef was left on.

The upshot was that pork went back on the menu, the beef went back in the fridge and chicken and vegetarian were last minute menu additions.

The lunch also caused controversy because it cost ratepayers $47,000 to feed almost 600 guests at the Christian Orthodox lunch, triple the food bill of the council’s If tar Interfaith dinner the month before.

Pork was added to the council’s standard order following a council resolution in August last year.


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7 thoughts on “Porkgate II: council staff grilled over pork to halal sausage ratios

  1. The food amounts should be equal quantities. . Beef and pork. I for one will not eat halal slaughtered meat, it tastes metalic, due to the adrenaline in the meat due to slaughter process. It also goes against my religion .. which I will not sacrifice to the benifit of another religion.
    Well done to Peter Ristevski and some other councillors for ensuring that pork was back on the council menues.

  2. I’ve eated halal meat (by mistake – my mother didn’t know what halal meant), and it didn’t taste any different to me. They probably cooked the halal sausages first, and had three barbeques to avoid contamination. Not a surprise to those of us who live in the significantly Jewish Eastern Suburbs! (I bet the people who protest against halal food would stuff their face with kosher food it it was offered to them! Double standards, bigots.)

    1. I am sorry but not wanting to eat ritually slaughtered animals has nothing to do with being a bigot. I want religion to be present as little as possible in my life because all I have seen of religion so far is war, conflicts, violence.

      The halal certification also raises the issue of the ratio men/women in halal or kosher certified factories and you’ll find that they almost only employ men.

      Additionally, I pay for religious certification on my food unknowingly as most companies hide religious labels. It adds a cost on most of the goods I buy. I also think that traditional Australian products should have a halal and non halal version instead of just the latter. Also, why is 80% of our meat and almost all the brands of milk, at shopping centres, halal or kosher certified when only 5% of the population is Muslim or Jewish.

      Additionally, I always ask where the meat comes from so no double standards for me.

      Finally, Hindus and Buddhists cannot eat religiously slaughtered meat so you close your door to them. So either you cook for all types of needs or you don’t cook at all.

      1. Well said Vero. Why should I have to eat anything halal slaughtered? It doesn’t make me a bigot or a racist to not want to pay for or approve of someone else’s religion. It’s the same bs that is taking ham/pork and bacon out of school canteens/workplaces for fear of offending ! Stupid

      2. Vero,

        It would seem that local producers export a significant amount of their halal product to countries that require this sort of produce. I suppose it’s the same as Holden having a 6 cylinder motor in their local cars because they export them as well. Oh, bad example. Holden doesnt produce locally anymore, does it. Anyway, you get the idea.

        This might be the place to raise my objections to the type of sandwiches provided at training events. Typically, they consist of weird variations of trendy ingredients, when I only want something simple like ham and cheese. It happens all the time. Can we do something about it please.

  3. I wonder what the various gods would make of this. It makes me realise how far we’ve come since the prehistoric days where cavemen used to worship the sun and the moon. Maybe its time for local governments to pay Jamie Oliver to design a new generic cuisine that is acceptable to all the various religious groups, although I do anticipate complaints from Coles.

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