Embattled council launches scathing attack on Minister, CCC
IPSWICH councillors have launched their most scathing attack against the State Government - slamming Minister Stirling Hinchliffe for "taking the law into his own hands" and establishing a "kangaroo court at the suggestion of the CCC".
The comments come after Brisbane lawyer Tony Morris QC said moves by the government were similar to those made during the Bjelke-Petersen era.
Councillors, due to be dismissed in August by way of special new laws, also questioned the role of the chair of the Crime and Corruption Commission in their sacking.
"It is interesting to note that the minister is taking his advice from Alan MacSporran - the man who heads up the CCC, an organisation funded by the state government and who clearly has a vested interest in the outcome of allegations," Acting mayor Wayne Wendt said.
"His reputation depends on the success of the CCC's ongoing investigations into Local Government."
Cr Wendt said Ipswich Council was only seeking a fair hearing.
"The minister has shown that he is not willing to provide that fair hearing by way of mediation, so we asked the Supreme Court to provide some clarity," he said.
"The minister is clearly not happy with that as a solution, so he's now taking the law into his own hands.
"At no point is anyone suggesting justice - whatever the outcome - should not be served.
"We are however, suggesting the 10 councillors who have no allegations or charges against them are given their right to be heard."
Paul Tully said ordinary citizens facing the courts had more rights than elected councillors.
"Imagine if the evidence against a defendant saw their case thrown out of court, would the Attorney-General rush through new laws to convict and jail them without any trial," he said.
"It would be outrageous for Parliament to create a law to send an alleged offender to jail without a fair trial."
Cr Tully said the government's position was neither understandable nor fair.
"When you take such a hostile stance and it's proven you've been overly hostile from the outset, you've got yourself a problem," Cr Tully said.
"The minister hasn't been able to prove why the current sitting councillors should be removed, so he's removing all legal rights of appeal."