"20 parking tickets and I'm not paying any of them"

CONSTITUTIONAL WARRIOR: Bill Longford and his 20 Ipswich City Council parking fines.
CONSTITUTIONAL WARRIOR: Bill Longford and his 20 Ipswich City Council parking fines.

BILL Longford is refusing to pay 20 parking fines - and he is doing so on constitutional grounds.

The fines, totalling $1000, were issued by Ipswich City Council over the last two years in the Ipswich CBD.

But Ipswich's Mr Longford is adamant that because local government is not recognised by the Australian constitution, the council has no right to issue the fines.

How will you vote in the September 14 referendum to recognise local government in the Australian Constitution?

This poll ended on 24 May 2013.

Yes, I want local government to be recognised in the Australian Constitution - 29%

No, I do not want local government recognised in the Australian Constitution - 70%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"They are breaking my constitutional and democratic rights," he said.

"They don't have the right to issue a parking ticket.

"Julia Gillard said there will be a referendum to recognise local government in the constitution.

"So what does that mean? It means they are not in there. They are not a tier of government."

There was a referendum in 1988 to recognise local government in the constitution, but it failed.

"I voted in 1988 and I thought, 'Yoohoo, no more council'. But nothing changed," Mr Longford said.

"They got voted out. But the worst part is... they were never in."

Cr Paul Tully warned that "people should be very wary of listening to people who are challenging the constitutional structure of Australia's legal system".

"In Gatton Magistrates Court some years ago people claimed they didn't have to pay their rates, but they lost their cases," he said.

"Local government is established and recognised under the Queensland Constitution. The High Court has consistently upheld the lawful existence of local government.

"It doesn't exist under the Australian Constitution, but neither do state agencies or various corporations. The danger here is that other people might believe these spurious legal claims and could end up being the losers.

"Eventually, if they dont' pay their fines they are referred to SPER. They can lose their drivers license and be suspended from driving...and the debt is still pursued.

Mr Longford is adamant he is not paying the fines.

"I objected to their (council's) claim and asked them to prove it, and they are unwilling to prove it," he said.

"If they can prove their claim, we'll talk about it."

Mr Longford is fighting his case using information provided by Aussie Speeding Fines that he says "helps people to fight illegal and unlawful fines".

"You read the information, get to understand it and fight them on their own terms," he said.

"I provided the documentation to Ipswich City Council for free and they have engaged SPER. SPER have ignored it and requested more information off me but I have never been asked again."

"I told them I will charge them for providing any more information and they should check what I already sent through."

Mr Longford said he was winning the battle.

"If they don't action it in 12 months it is void. I have documentation from SPER saying some of the fines are no longer valid."

Cr Tully confirmed "legal action for simple offences has to be commenced within 12 months of the date of commission of the offence".

"But if you have committed a parking offence and proceedings have commenced within the 12 months, they can be continued."

Topics:  constitution ipswich city council

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