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Parliamentary Privilege: Lister crossing the line?

18 October 2019

An address in Queensland Parliament on Wednesday by the Southern Downs LNP elected representative, James Lister, has the Southern Downs Regional Council questioning whether his comments crossed the line of Parliamentary Privilege.

In his address to Parliament, the State Member referred to Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Tracy Dobie as ‘toxic’ and made false claims in regards to a letter he had received from the Premier.

“It is always disappointing to see Parliamentary Privilege used to belittle and criticise those outside of the Parliamentary system,” said Mayor Dobie.

“It is unfortunate that the State representative for the Southern Downs has chosen to make personal attacks and to blame others for his inability to work with the Queensland Government and deliver tangible outcomes for our region. 

Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Tracy Dobie said that the Member also misrepresented the facts in his Parliamentary address on Wednesday.

“The Member for the Southern Downs claimed in Parliament that he had written to the Premier asking for trucks to deliver water to those who live outside of town.  He then stated that I, as Mayor, had told the Premier the farmers didn’t need this support,” said Mayor Dobie.

“This is not true.”

Attached is a copy of the letter the Premier sent to the Member for the Southern Downs.   

“Nowhere in the Premier’s letter does it say that farmers do not need support with water carting. 

“I have advocated strongly for support for our farmers for drought relief, in particular, the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.

“Our Council allocated $150,000 of grant funding for water carting for rural landowners earlier this year. We have requested Federal Government support for this initiative again but have been advised that we are only eligible for this support every second year. 

“Our Council has worked with charities inside and outside of the region to channel millions of litres of donated water, and funding for water carting, to our rural landowners.

“James Lister has misrepresented the Premier in Parliament and brought the name of our region into disrepute. 

“The Premier’s letter refers to water being added to the reticulated water system. Council requested a copy of the letter Mr Lister sent to the Premier in order to understand the context of this reference. However, Mr Lister has refused to provide a copy.

“Mr Lister has not been willing to engage with Southern Downs Regional Council since his election and demonstrates no understanding of the role of local government. 

“It is disappointing that Mr Lister has also used Parliamentary Privilege to make assertions about Council’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) which are not correct and based on minimal interaction with the CEO and his staff.

“Council and its officers remain available to brief the Member for the Southern Downs on all matters relating to drought support, water and how local government works.”

Please click Here to access letter.

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