MP Don Brown attacks Redlands councillor Paul Gleeson in Parliament over inappropriate conduct

CAPALABA MP Don Brown has attacked Cr Paul Gleeson in Parliament over allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Photo: Queensland Parliament

Photo: Queensland Parliament

Last week the Redland City Bulletin reported Mayor Karen Williams had reprimanded Cr Gleeson for inappropriate conduct regarding social media comments, failing to comply with council procedures and behaving in an offensive and disorderly manner.

This followed Cr Gleeson’s censure by the Local Government Department.

Cr Gleeson hit back at Mr Brown on Wednesday, challenging him to make the comments in public or share them on social media.

Mr Brown said the most recent complaint about Cr Gleeson was that he had sought an address for a resident who was moving house from a real estate agent.

It follows an earlier complaint related to a visit made by Cr Gleeson to former Alexandra Hills resident Dan Ling’s house in August last year.

“It is shameful that I have lost a constituent of mine from my electorate due to this councillor but also this councillor is going to the extent of trying to find out his new address,” Mr Brown said.

Cr Gleeson said he had beaten ALP member Jesse McNamara to retain Division 9 in the last local government election.

“Since then Don’s had ALP members putting in vexatious complaints about me,” Cr Gleeson said.

“I challenge him to step away from the safety of his parliamentary privilege and publish it on his Facebook page.

“There are statements in his speech that are fundamentally incorrect.”

Mr Brown was speaking during debate on bills to tighten laws on local government, including giving the minister powers to suspend or dismiss mayors and councillors who face serious integrity charges.

“With regards to Paul Gleeson, the laws in this bill before Parliament cannot come quick enough for the people of Division 9 and Capalaba,” Mr Brown said.

He told Parliament Cr Gleeson had been reprimanded for inappropriate conduct over comments on social media on January 22, 2016.

The MP said another allegation of inappropriate conduct on social media on February 20 last year was referred to the Regional Conduct Review Panel.

“On August 22, 2017 there were allegations of inappropriate conduct again referred to the Regional Conduct Review Panel,” Mr Brown said.

“This was regarding allegations of inappropriate social media comments made by Cr Gleeson to a local sporting club.”

Mr Brown said more information “probably would have come out if there was an independent assessor”.

“We need to ensure complainants feel comfortable and safe enough to bring these matters forward and also that CEOs and mayors, who have probably used their running ticket to support previous councillors, are not conflicted in this way.”

Speaking during the same debate, MP Kim Richards said feedback from voters suggested they had lost faith in the local government system.

“They have seen repeat offenders – frequent flyers, some might say – who continue to bring the important role played by local councillors into disrepute,” she said.

“Members need only to see the councillor complaints register from my region to see what I am talking about.

“That area has experienced a gamut of issues – constituents threatened, disruption of the council meetings and alleged inappropriate conduct.”