Chris Hooper will not become Rockhampton mayor by default.
Chris Hooper will not become Rockhampton mayor by default.

‘He’s not one of them’: Anti-Pineapple bill passed

THE State Government passed a bill this evening keeping Chris Hooper from becoming the Rockhampton Regional Council mayor by default.

Today was the second day of debating the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020, introduced by Attorney-General and Justice Minister Shannon Fentiman on November 26.

The bill was meant to push back the expiry date of coronavirus emergency legislation, among other things, including altering the Local Government Act 2009 with retroactive force.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said yesterday that "the bill's retrospective effect is justified, and the impact on the right and liberties of individuals is appropriate in the circumstances".

During the bill's second reading, Greens Member for Maiwar Michael Berkman attempted to move an amendment to remove section 338 of the legislation, the part that retroactively annuls the appointment and actions of any mayoral position filled since October 12.

He was, however, unsuccessful.

Greens Member for Maiwar Michael Berkman. Photo: Annette Dew
Greens Member for Maiwar Michael Berkman. Photo: Annette Dew

Mr Berkman listed Mr Hooper's environmental and anti-mining positions and said that political and big business leaders "won't accept that outcome" - that of his becoming mayor.

"He's not one of them: he is a threat to their very comfortable existences," he said.

"He's why they swung into action as soon as the former mayor resigned.

"That's why the Rockhampton Regional Council has stalled and wasted time with support of the State Department of Local Government … It's why council physically prevented Mr Hooper from attending the council meeting in which he should have been sworn in as mayor in a clear breach of the existing … Local Government Act.

"That's why they've conspired to make sure Mr Hooper won't serve a single day as the mayor, and just in case he is sworn in, that's why they're bringing the most extraordinary retrospective legislation to invalidate anything that he could possibly have done while in office.

"I suspect that Mr Hooper will be a candidate in that by-election, and I wish him all the best."



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