Several women residents of the Australian outback town Mount Isa are outraged over by Mayor John Molony's call for import of ugly girls to end drought of women.
Apparently men far outnumber women, by five to one, and many are worried about the deepening crisis.
The miners' Mecca has traditionally been a man's world - and young fellas say living in the Isa is about earning money, not finding love, Townsville Bulletin reported.
In 2006 there were just 819 females aged 20-24 living in town, compared with 994 in 1996. While most blokes accept the female drought is `just the way it is out here' - they still have a few suggestions as to how to lure the ladies out west.
Builder Paul Woodlands, 25, said the pay for jobs traditionally filled by women did not seem to match what the blokes could earn and there was little incentive for women to stay in the remote town.
"I know a few women who have come out here to do hairdressing, but they left to go back to the coast because the pay was bad and there's not much to do," Woodlands said.
"I think if they improved wages for those types of jobs, it might help.
"There's definitely a lack of beautiful women, blokes are not as picky - you take what you can get."
Fly-in, fly-out miner Luke Eastgate, 22, hinted that while there were women around, many were not the type to take home to meet your mother.
"There are a small number of professionals, like school teachers and nurses, but it's more of an open set-up, it's difficult to find a girlfriend in this town and keep her."
Eastgate said many young professionals were in Mount Isa for a short time to start their career before they moved back to larger cities.
And when the newspaper approached the Mayor for his comments, with his usual bluster, he reacted, saying,
"May I suggest if there are five blokes to every girl, we should find out where there are beauty-disadvantaged women and ask them to proceed to Mount Isa.......
"Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face. Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness.
"Often those who are beauty-disadvantaged are uphappy with their lot.
"Some, in other places in Australia, need to proceed to Mount Isa where happiness awaits.
"And, really, beauty is only skin deep. Isn't there a fairy tale about an ugly duckling that evolves into a beautiful swan?"
It is not clear whether Mayor John Molony thought he was being jocular, but he had clearly put his foot deep into his mouth, raising a minor storm.
"This is the most disgusting portrait that has ever been painted of my home town. I am a Mount Isa resident and proud of it. This man should never have been made mayor and should be removed from office immediately. John Molony, we don't want you as mayor! You have no idea who the people in the community you are supposed be representing are. As for beauty disadvantaged women you are obviously need your eyesight checked, "fumed a woman.
Another wrote in response to the newspaper report: "This is the most outrageous attack on women I have ever heard. How dare you label women like that. We don't want a mayor that has no idea who his constituents are!! I voted for Ron McCulloch and sure as hell wish he got in. You should be ashamed of your sexist remarks & you need to retract your statement. The most important thing John Molony didn't mention is the severe lack of quality men. There is plenty of quantity but not much of it is quality. What quality there is out there is either taken or gay..."
Fellow councillor Jean Ferris said she had been inundated with phone calls from men and women disgusted by Molony's remarks.
"It's an absolute disgrace," she said. "It's not council's view and it's not mine. It's hard when you've got to defend something someone else has said. We're definitely appalled."
Domestic violence resource worker Shirley Slann also called for the Mayor to publicly apologise. "It's a public attack on women and a form of verbal and emotional abuse," Ms Slann said.
Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce manager Patricia O'Callaghan said Molony could expect a "fierce backlash".
The 25-year-old businesswoman chose to return to Mount Isa after completing her degree in Brisbane because of the opportunities and lifestyle the town offered.
"The article didn't paint a very good picture of the men here either. But I've never been treated with anything but the utmost respect. I've never walked into a club and been preyed upon. They've been lovely," she said.
The Mayor himself has refused to apologise, contending his remarks have been "twisted out of context."