Hooper accuses council of delaying mayoral appointment
RUNNER-UP mayoral candidate Chris 'Pineapple' Hooper has made insinuations about Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk while commenting on her German and Polish heritage, accused Acting Mayor Neil Fisher of 'doing a Trump', and pointed the finger at Rockhampton Regional Council for "delaying" his appointment to mayor.
Mr Hooper made the accusations on social media after receiving an email from Rockhampton Regional Council chief executive officer Evan Pardon this morning, confirming the mayoral vacancy would not be discussed at Tuesday's council meeting until the State Government had provided an in-person briefing outlining the implications the planned legislative changes could have for council and the community.
Mr Hooper wrote on social media his appointment to mayor should not be delayed just because the State Government wanted to give council a briefing on proposed new laws "that may or may not come into effect".
"This sounds like a ridiculous excuse that only Mr Fisher and the CEO would accept as legitimate," he wrote.
"Not since the Joh days have we seen this sort of State Government interference into council matters.
"If Mr Fisher wants to be mayor so badly that he will compromise his integrity, then he should have had the guts to run in the mayoral election in March when he had the opportunity.
"Acting Mayor Neil Fisher is doing a Trump. He is desperate to stay in office despite it being time to move on."
Mr Hooper also made comments about the Premier.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk is from German, Polish descent. She should be well aware that people don't like dictators," he said.
When questioned on the statement, Mr Hooper said he stood by it.
A State Government spokesman said Mr Hooper's comments comparing the Premier to the Nazi regime her grandparents fled were "tasteless in the extreme".
"He's welcome to nominate for mayor in the coming by-election and the people of Rockhampton can have their say," the spokesman said.
Cr Fisher said the decision not to discuss the mayoral vacancy tomorrow was made following discussions with the State Government.
He said, due to the potential implications of planned legislative changes, the State Government had recommended providing councillors with a full briefing which was being arranged.
"I have been advised by the department the legislation the State Government intends to pass may invalidate any decisions made by council, or the appointed mayor, between the time of appointment and the by-election," he said.
"This wouldn't just affect decisions made at the council table but also day to day duties carried out by the mayor, for example signing off on critical documentation.
"Council has a responsibility to the community to ensure we are fully informed and understand the nature of the implications as a result of the proposed legislative amendments. This is simply good governance.
"We will continue to meet our obligations under the Local Government Act 2009, and to ensure council operations and services are still being provided to the community."
Responding to accusations the State Government and council were "delaying" Mr Hooper's appointment to mayor, Cr Fisher said council was following the act.
"We haven't conceded or changed anything to the timelines currently in place," he said.
"We have focused ourselves totally on actually doing our job for the interests of the city and within the guidelines of the legislation.
"The CEO and I have followed everything in the act to date and we are still following that.
"I commend our CEO for how he has conducted this process.
"We will keep the public up to date as we understand what is happening and what we are facing."