Pisasale targeted in explosive claims by MP in Parliament
FORMER Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has been accused of keeping election donations for his own use, threatening members of the public and pressuring local businesses into giving him and other councillors free goods.
Independent Cairns MP Rob Pyne tabled documents in Queensland Parliament titled "Ipswich Inc" that allege Mr Pisasale engaged in inappropriate conduct throughout his time as a councillor and mayor.
Mr Pisasale did not respond to a request for comment regarding the allegations.
The tabled documents allege Mr Pisasale threatened critics with litigation and used speaking opportunities to visit mistresses across the state.
"He has used a loophole in the Local Government Act to keep any funds raised but not spent on elections for himself," the documents alleged.
"He has bragged at raising hundreds of thousands of dollars over consecutive elections.
"It's well known that Pisasale and other councillors pressure local businesses for freebies from haircuts to meals, drinks to electrical goods for them and their families."
On Wednesday morning, Mr Pyne said he did not want to publish the documents without parliamentary privilege because he feared being sued for defamation.
"In my experience defamation law is something that's used by those with resources and not always in a way that favours transparency," he said.
Mr Pyne said he had only recently been made aware of the allegations against Mr Pisasale.
Despite the document claiming Mr Pisasale breached Labor Party rules, Mr Pyne, who was a Labor member until 2015, said he had been previously unaware of those claims.
Mr Pyne used the tabling to call on the government to increase the powers of the Crime and Corruption Commission or to start a New South Wales-style Independent Commission Against Corruption.
But neither the Government nor the Opposition has backed Mr Pyne's calls for a new corruption watchdog.
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls on Wednesday said he believed the CCC was doing its job successfully.
"There's already a CCC inquiry going on into Mayor Pisasale and those actions and obviously I can't comment on that. But the CCC has all the investigative powers to be able to look into the matter. I'm sure that if it makes recommendations that are necessary we'll see them come out and that may then lead to another investigation," he said.
The Ipswich CIty Council denied allegations made in the documents that council-run companies were not transparent.
The documents claimed the companies were not financial transparent, nor was it clear if councillors or council staff working as directors were paid.
"All four council-owned companies are audited annually by the Auditor-General. Financial information is on the corporate website. The companies report to the council twice a year," the spokesman said.
"No directors are paid for their services. There is full accountability and transparency."