Claims made in high-stake fight started by suing councillors

FORMER councillors locked in a battle to secure compensation for what they claim was an unfair dismissal by the State Government are likely to go back to court in June.

Paul Tully, Cheryl Bromage, David Pahlke, Wayne Wendt, Sheila Ireland, David Morrison and Charlie Pisasale have sued Ipswich City Council after they were sacked by special state government legislation last August.

After lodging the legal action with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission in October, progress on the case has been slow.

Evidence submissions have been exchanged on behalf of Ipswich City Council and the former councillors after a slight delay, sources familiar with the case say.

At the core of the case is whether councillors are considered Ipswich City Council employees.

People involved with the legal challenge expect the case could be heard by the industrial relations commission as late as June.

According to the commission, no mention or hearing date has yet been listed.

The former councillors are being represented by prominent Queensland barrister Tony Morris QC.

They could each be entitled to six months' salary; about $60,000.

Mr Morris has previously said the sacked councillors' cases were strong.

A conciliation meeting was held in October to determine if any common ground could be found between councillors and the Queensland Government to avoid a full hearing.

It was fruitless, with the matter hurtling towards a drawn out and costly legal fight.

All 11 councillors were dismissed in a drawn-out process by the State Government in August after mayor Andrew Antoniolli was charged with fraud in May.

He denies wrongdoing and intends to fight the charges at a trial set for May 7.

No other councillors are accused of wrongdoing.

Ipswich City Council and Mr Morris declined to comment.