'Crisis' meeting called ahead of council dismissal decision

LABOR members in Ipswich have held a "crisis" meeting to discuss the council's looming dismissal and endorse a party ticket at the next election.

The QT can reveal about 70 members from across Ipswich met at Brothers Leagues Club on Wednesday, the day of Stirling Hinchliffe's second show-cause notice, to propose a Labor team be run at the next council elections - due in 2020.

Timing of the meeting has been slammed by some Labor sources, who hammered the "poor timing" of the meeting as the party comes under attack for its claimed knowledge of alleged council corruption.

"It was put together by malcontents in the Labor Party that have no idea about timing," one member said.

"The timing of it is unbelievable, the day the minister issues the second notice on the Labor council," another said.

The meeting was organised prior to Mr Hinchliffe's notice.

The QT can reveal members at the meeting discussed how the dismissal of Ipswich's majority-Labor council would affect the party's chances in state and federal elections.

The meeting was organised by the party's Blair Federal Electoral Council.

Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden was the only sitting politician to attend.

He declined to comment.

It was called to debate re-establishing a Municipal Executive Committee, which would be responsible for organising a campaign for Labor candidates to stand for council.

Party resources and finances would be allocated to candidates in an effort to secure a divisional, or mayor, position.

"People are shocked because it will split the Labor Party," one member said.

"The public will reject party politics at a local government level more than ever.

"This is a big tussle. The left believes the right is trying to take over the party and there's major divisional brawls."

Some sitting councillors were frustrated by the meeting.

Acting Mayor and former Member for Ipswich West Wayne Wendt sent a blunt email to the meeting and cautioned against endorsing a Labor campaign for council.

The last time there was a Labor ticket in Ipswich was 1994 when nine of the 10 red councillors were wiped out.

Only Paul Tully survived.

While the plan to re-establish a municipal Labor committee was passed, no official meeting minutes were kept.

The council ticket must be endorsed by two other Labor committees - which sources say is unlikely to happen.

For 14 years mayor Paul Pisasale was key in stopping the re-establishment of a Labor ticket for the Ipswich elections.

If Mr Pisasale was part of a Labor ticket mayoral donations would have been placed in a party war chest, rather than in Mr Pisasale's control.



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