Residents slam minister's proposal to sack councillors
AN EXPLOSIVE letter has accused Minister Stirling Hinchliffe of 'calling the firing squad before a court trial' in his proposal to sack Ipswich's 11 councillors.
The note was authored by Willowbank resident Ian 'Spike' Dainer, who called on Mr Hinchliffe - "if you have any sense of decency" - to leave elected officials alone.
"I am bewildered that the State Government would consider sacking a duly elected council, who serve the residents of this wonderful city at the closest point to its constituents, without any evidence that any of them have been involved in any wrongdoing," he wrote.
Mr Dainer argued aside from the alleged behaviour of two mayors, the remaining people facing charges were unelected council employees.
He questioned: "It would be enlightening for us the punters out here in voter land if one of you could explain to me and my fellow residents why, when an unelected council official is accused of wrongdoing, you should have the prerogative to sack the elected officials not charged with any offence?"
"If at some time in the future councillors are convicted of illegal activity, I'll be the first to chow down on my share of humble pie.
"Until then, could we please observe the fundamental principle of our legal system, innocent until proved otherwise?
"Our rule of law is that we usually have a trial before the firing squad loads up, however, this seems not to be the case with Ipswich councillors."
Mr Dainer demanded, "no action be taken to dismiss any properly elected councillor of Ipswich City Council until such time as there has been some modicum of evidence that these hard-working individuals have actually done something wrong".
He wrote in support of a letter to the LNP's Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause by Willowbank group president George Hatchman.
Mr Hatchman said he was "quite taken aback" to hear the premier describe the Ipswich councillors' future as "Fait Accompli".
"I would believe this pre-determination of the dismissal of the Ipswich City Council would be fundamentally a serious travesty of our nation's democratic principles," he wrote.
Mr Hatchman, who has been chairman of the Willowbank Area Residents Group for 20 years, said he has engaged with many elected councillors.
"In all circumstances, I have had reciprocating respect with our elected councillors to commit to resolving what community issues arise," he said.