Mayor Paul Pisasale.
Mayor Paul Pisasale. Inga Williams

FIGHT STATION 101: Did Councillor throw punch at Pisasale?

IPSWICH is abuzz with news that Cr Andrew Antoniolli threw a punch at Mayor Paul Pisasale at Fire Station 101 in front of council staff this morning.

The alleged punch missed - but only just - as the QT is told by multiple witnesses, and the pair then continued their disagreement outside verbally with raised voices.

The QT has spoken to eye witnesses who saw the event unfold and they all say the same thing, but Cr Pisasale and Cr Antoniolli both deny that a punch was thrown.

Cr Antoniolli said that the duo "had an animated discussion" and laughed off suggestions there was a punch.

"And we have discussions every day," Cr Antoniolli said.

"I don't know what you are talking about. I think some people have vivid imaginations.

"I haven't thrown a punch since 1992 of any description.

"It is a nothing incident. We had a highly animated and passionate discussion."

Councillor Andrew Antoniolli. Photo: Contributed
Councillor Andrew Antoniolli. Photo: Contributed Contributed

Cr Pisasale said it was "a robust discussion".

"Andrew and I have a passion for this city always and at times we have conflicting ideas, but at the end of the day we always come together in the best interests of the city," he said.

"We have a friendly rivalry and we both had a point of view but whoever says that there was a punch is exaggerating.

"Andrew has never laid a finger on me.

"We stood face to face having a discussion that got very, very...funny.

"Maybe it is our Italian personalities, but we have debates

"I don't know what everyone is talking about. They are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, but that's politics."

The duo was at Fire Station 101 to welcome a delegation from the Netherlands visiting for a smart city seminar.

The visitors from the Netherlands had not arrived when the disagreement between the two councillors took place.

Cr Antoniolli and Cr Pisasale were both calm when they spoke in front of the delegation minutes later.

The QT attended the event but was not present when the incident unfolded.

The QT is yet to confirm what the "robust discussion" was about but understands it relates to a disagreement that has emerged in recent days.

Reports of the incident are already doing the rounds in the city and staff at this newspaper were also aware of the altercation within hours.

But Cr Pisasale said he did not know what the fuss was about.

"People love a good story and a good yarn but I can assure people there was no violence," he said.

"The only violence that occurred at Fire Station 101 was Cr Tully ringing the big fire bell for our visitors that shook the station."

Cr Antoniolli was in a surprisingly jovial mood during his interview with the QT.

"I tell you one thing. If I throw a punch I don't miss," he said.

"Paul and I stand shoulder to shoulder."

The big question is whether they stood toe to toe at Fight Station 101.

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