Council sacking 'as bad as Bjelke-Petersen era': Barrister
A PROMINENT barrister has declared the government's move to sack the Ipswich City Council amid its court challenge is reminiscent of the "worst conduct of the worst conduct of the Bjelke-Petersen era”.
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe plans to introduce legislation to the Queensland Parliament on August 21 to dismiss the council.
Queensland barrister Tony Morris QC said doing that after the council took the matter to the Supreme Court was "utterly unacceptable”.
"This is really back to the worst conduct of the worst conduct of the Bjelke-Petersen era,” Mr Morris told ABC radio.
"People following the Fitzgerald Inquiry loved to ask politicians the question, what about separation of powers?
"Here we have a government using the parliament to prevent the Supreme Court deciding the outcome on this issue.”
He said it was unprecedented to "cut off a piece of litigation while it's pending”.
"It's hard to imagine a worse case of abuse of parliamentary process,” Mr Morris said.
Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully was elected during Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen's reign as Premier.
"Joh was the most undemocratic dictator this state has seen since 1859,” he said.
"He trod over peoples rights, made it illegal to protest against the government and he had no concern his for constitutional responsibilities.”
Cr Tully said Mr Morris' comparison to the Bjelke-Petersen era was "interesting”.
"Tony Morris has hit the nail on the head with his condemnation of the proposed Act of Parliament to sack Ipswich City councillors,” he said.
Mr Morris said it was "matters of constitutional principle.
"An elected government, an elected parliament uses legalisation wisely to legislate for the future,” he said.
"To do it in the face of a pending case in the Supreme Court, effectively talking that case out of the hands of the Court and saying despite the right to litigate in the Supreme Court, we're going to decide this without regard to what the Supreme Court decides.”
On Tuesday Mr Hinchliffe said he was acting on the advice of the CCC and; "the chair of the CCC wants me to take this action”.
Mr Morris said Mr Hinchliffe's comment might have been a "misunderstanding”.
"The notion that the government is at the beck and call of the CCC to pass retrospective legislation to prevent litigation in the Supreme Court, just because the head of the CCC asks for it is bizarre,” he said.
The QT asked the Crime and Corruption Commission to clarify what advice Mr MacSporran had provided Mr Hinchliffe.
"As the investigation remains ongoing and related matters are before the court, it is not appropriate for the CCC to comment further,” a CCC spokesman said.
"Fifteen people have been charged with 79 offences following the Crime and Corruption Commission's investigation into Ipswich City Council.
"The CCC's investigation remains ongoing.”
The LNP's Local Government spokeswoman Ann Leahy said the government should release information provided by the CCC.
"Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk must release all advice received from the Crime and Corruption Commission on this matter, in particular, any advice to sack the full Ipswich City Council,” she said.