Six mayoral candidates call on Tully to step aside
SIX Ipswich mayoral candidates held a press conference on Sunday to call for Acting Mayor Paul Tully to step aside until the August 19 by-election.
Gary Duffy, Brett Morrissey, Jack Paff, Patricia Petersen, Peter Robinson and Paul Rix have all made the call in front of the Ipswich council administration building with their supporters.
Mr Duffy spoke on behalf of the candidates and, reading from a release, said that "in the interests of the democratic rights of the people of Ipswich, we the candidates demand that Cr Tully vacate the position of mayor first thing Monday".
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"Failing this the (Local Government) Minister needs to exercise his powers and declare the position properly vacant and withdraw the delegated powers from Cr Tully," he said.
The candidates put out a joint release on the issue apart from Ms Petersen.
Ms Petersen agreed with the call for Cr Tully to step aside and with the major points of the release, but said that CEO Jim Lindsay should fill the role of mayor and not one of the councillors.
Several of the candidates said Cr Tully had an unfair advantage, and should not be performing mayoral duties while standing in the by-election.
But Cr Tully said the candidates' call was "nothing short of a political stunt".
"Under the Local Government Act the Deputy Mayor automatically is required to act as the mayor in the event of a vacancy in the mayoralty," he said.
"Unless I was affected by illness or incapacity, I am required to act in the position of mayor by law.
"It is not a matter of my choosing and it has always been the law in Queensland that the Deputy Mayor acts (as mayor) in the event of a vacancy in the mayoralty."
Mr Duffy acknowledged the legal point that Cr Tully referred to.
But Mr Duffy said it should be "the CEO or...a councillor nominated to be an Acting Mayor who is not going to stand for the position".
Mr Duffy said it would be acceptable to the group if a councillor, apart from Cr Tully or Cr Andrew Antoniolli, stepped into the role.
He said Cr Cheryl Bromage would be acceptable.
In the candidates' release it stated that the position of mayor was "not vacant when Cr Tully has been delegated the powers of mayor...and still retains these powers".
But Cr Tully disputed that and said he had no delegated "powers" as such.
"The mayor does not have any power to make decisions under the Local Government Act," he said.
"The mayor only acts through a meeting of the council.
"The council didn't appoint me to the position and neither have I been delegated any powers.
"The mayor's prime legal power is to chair the meetings of the council. It is not like a (US) Presidential system where the mayor has executive powers.
"These people have obviously never read the Local Government Act."
Mr Robinson and Ms Petersen said that all major decisions, including the negotiations for the sale of the old council building, should be put on hold until after the by-election.
"But we are not in caretaker mode," Cr Tully said.
"The Local Government Act on that is quite clear."
Ms Petersen acknowledged that but said that "because of the special, unusual and bizarre" circumstances of the election "the council should be in a caretaker role".
"I don't believe that decisions that are going to have serious and long term impacts should be made at this point in time," she said.
"I think all decisions should be put on hold until after the election."
Mr Paff said it was "a very historic occasion" for six candidates to gather together to make their call.