Councillor defends exclusive club membership
VETERAN Ipswich councillor Paul Tully has defended having a council-owned company pay for memberships to the exclusive Brisbane Club, despite cancelling his own because it was "never of any benefit".
The memberships were among a string of alleged offences that came under fire by the state's corruption watchdog in a blistering report, tabled in Parliament, that also detailed claims of abuses of power.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe yesterday seized on the report as proof their plans to introduce new laws to sack the council next week were warranted.
In the tabled report, the Crime and Corruption Commission says its investigations found a council-owned entity paid for business-class flights, expensive restaurant meals, accommodation and memberships to a private Brisbane-based club.
"The directors claimed the expenditure was for the purposes of planning Ipswich developments, however, it is believed it was for their own personal benefit," the CCC report states.
Ipswich City Properties was one of council's companies whose directors have included former mayor Paul Pisasale, councillor Tully and former council chief executives Jim Lindsay and Carl Wulff. Cr Tully yesterday said he only went there twice and had cancelled his membership as it was "never of any benefit" to him.
He said he believed the memberships were organised by Wulff "to conduct commercial transactions on behalf of the company" and came with cheap CBD parking as a benefit.
The Brisbane Club started in 1903 and entry fees can range from $750-$1000 plus between $600-$1700 in annual fees.
Attempts to obtain comment from Pisasale, Lindsay and Wulff - all three are fighting corruption charges for separate events - were unsuccessful. Cr Tully said that he had no knowledge of expensive restaurant meals or personal trips and said travel by ICP directors to the US and UK were for meetings and seminars. "They weren't sitting around the bloody Riviera or Statue of Liberty."
One of ICP's trips saw directors, including Cr Tully, zigzag the US in a private jet over five days in 2010.