State MP Don Brown slams councillor Paul Gleeson in letter to Capalaba residents

MP Don Brown has written to Capalaba residents saying that he has asked Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe to review “extraordinarily poor behaviour” by Redland City councillor Paul Gleeson.

STATE MP: Capalaba MP Don Brown has distributed to residents a letter slamming Redland City councillor Paul Gleeson. Residents say that it is a waste of state money.

STATE MP: Capalaba MP Don Brown has distributed to residents a letter slamming Redland City councillor Paul Gleeson. Residents say that it is a waste of state money.

Cr Gleeson said he was seeking legal advice on Mr Brown’s actions.

He said it was part of a smear campaign started by Mr Brown in the run up to the local government election in 2016.

At that election Cr Gleeson was challenged by ALP member Jesse McNamara who last year was an electorate officer in Mr Brown’s office.

“With us being 13 months out from a council election, this type of behaviour is only going to grow,” Cr Gleeson said.

Mr Brown’s letter to residents claimed that Cr Gleeson had 11 complaints against him either substantiated or part-substantiated, including three of greater severity misconduct complaints.

The letter said Mr Brown would update residents about the minister’s response.

“You however, as the voter, are the ultimate judge of Cr Gleeson’s behaviour,” the letter said.

Mr Brown told the Bulletin that residents should be kept informed about why he had written to the minister.

A Capalaba resident told the Bulletin that the cost of printing and delivering the letter to postboxes was an inappropriate use of state money.

She said she was so angry about the letterbox drop that she had written to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for Don Brown to be looking over his back fence,” she said.

“He should look at his own back yard first and foremost.”

The resident said road infrastructure and public transport were state issues on which Mr Brown should focus.

Another said the statements in the letters were a “sanctimonious diatribe attacking and demonising another human being”.

“This smacks of the inquisition, seeking to destroy by innuendo another’s character and standing without the benefit of the other being able to defend – surely a gutless action not worthy of an elected Australian government representative,” the resident said.

Mr Brown said he had not received any complaints from residents about the use of state money and no one had questioned the letter’s contents.

“I actually have had people contacting my office in response to the letter asking how they can make a complaint against Cr Gleeson,” Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown said residents had a right to know why he was calling for Cr Gleeson’s resignation.

“He has not apologised...,” Mr Brown said.

“The residents deserve better local representation than what they are currently receiving.”

​In his letter dated December 20, Mr Brown asked the minister to review whether Cr Gleeson was fit to hold office as a councillor and, if appropriate, take further action up to and including the dismissal of Cr Gleeson.

The Bulletin asked Mr Hinchliffe what action he had taken since receiving Mr Brown’s letter, what disciplinary action he could take against a councillor and to respond to complaints that Mr Brown’s letter to residents was an inappropriate use of state money.

A spokesman for Mr Hinchliffe said that it was a matter for the Office of the Independent Assessor.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Independent Assessor said the OIA dealt with complaints about inappropriate conduct or misconduct or a statutory offence.

A councillor could not be dismissed by the OIA but could be referred to the Councillor Conduct Tribunal.

“Potential disciplinary orders the tribunal can make include recommendations to the minister that a councillor be suspended or dismissed,” the spokesperson said. “The tribunal can take a person’s disciplinary history into account.”