BE CAREFUL: Ann Leahy (right) says councillors charged with a criminal offence should be treated innocent until proven guilty.
BE CAREFUL: Ann Leahy (right) says councillors charged with a criminal offence should be treated innocent until proven guilty. Blake Antrobus

Leahy tells Labor to go slow

SHADOW Minister for Local Government Ann Leahy believes the Palaszczuk Government's proposal to automatically suspend councillors from their positions if charged with criminal offences is jumping to conclusions.

Ms Leahy believes councillors and mayors should be afforded a due process in the courts before a decision is made.

"The presumption of innocence until proven guilty is a fundamental cornerstone of our judicial system,” Ms Leahy said.

"Any amendments to legislation that the state Labor Government is proposing must include proper consultation with mayors, councillors, and ratepayers.”

Ms Leahy said if the government wishes to make a change to the current law, the process needs to be thorough.

"While the integrity of our elected officials is paramount, any amendments must receive full scrutiny through the parliament and not be rushed parliamentary amendments,” Ms Leahy said.

"The Palaszczuk Government has a poor track record when it comes to reversing the onus of proof and rushing amendments into parliament.

"Labor in their previous term through their defeated Vegetation Management laws reversed the onus of proof on landholders and gave the people of Queensland eighteen minutes notice of the governments change from an optional preferential voting system to compulsory voting.”

The debate comes after Logan Mayor Luke Smith faced mounting political pressure to stand aside after he was last month charged with corruption and perjury offences by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Cr Smith has declared he will fight the charges.

Earlier this week the Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said he was considering an automatic stand-down option.

"An automatic suspension, rather than ministerial discretion, mey be the best and fairest way to do this.”


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