Life can get a little lonely for bachelors in the Australian Outback mining town of Mount Isa. So the mayor has offered up a solution: recruit ugly women.
Mayor John Molony found himself under attack Monday over comments he made to a local newspaper that read: "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."
The mayor added that many women who already live in the remote Queensland state town seem quite happy.
"Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face," he continued. "Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness."
The quotes, published Saturday in the Townsville Bulletin, sparked outrage among the town's female population, led to furious online debates and drew criticism from the local chamber of commerce.
"There's a lot of anger circulating among the community at the moment - a lot of passionate anger," Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce manager Patricia O'Callaghan told The Associated Press on Monday. "There's a lot of women voicing their opinions."
Molony declined to elaborate on his comments when reached by telephone Monday by the Associated Press, saying that what he said was being "twisted and warped."
"I've been shredded," he added, before hanging up the phone.
The situation may not be quite as dire as Molony noted. According to the 2006 census, males made up 52.6 percent of the town's population of nearly 20,000.
And several local women said there aren't a lot of gems to be found among Mount Isa's men, either.
"We've got a saying up here that the odds are good, but the goods are odd," 27-year-old Anna Warrick told The Brisbane Times.