IPSWICH mayoral candidate Gary Duffy has come under fire for a Facebook post regarding Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones that has been described as "disgraceful" and "un-Australian".
Cr Jones is in Princess Alexandra Hospital in a critical but stable condition in intensive care after suffering a stroke yesterday while at a meeting in Ipswich with fellow mayors Paul Pisasale and Graeme Lehmann.
Mr Duffy took to Facebook to wish Mr Jones well, and then followed that up by referring to a paper on corruption in councils that he said had been tabled in the Queensland Parliament on Thursday.
The Facebook post, which Mr Duffy has updated since being questioned by the QT, is printed with this story.
When contacted by the QT to explain himself about the 'scones controversy' he mentions in his post, Mr Duffy said he was referring to a Lockyer Valley Council case where he said a councillor was reprimanded for misconduct by Cr Jones for delivering scones to a retirement village.
Mr Duffy then suggested in his Facebook post Cr Jones was in Cr Pisasale's office to discuss the above mentioned matters, a sentence he has removed this morning.
Cr Jones was in fact in Cr Pisasale's office to sign a memorandum of understanding between the three councils to ensure the survival of rugby league in Laidley, Lowood and Rosewood.
He was about to be interviewed about the regional co-operation of the three mayors across sporting, infrastructure and emergency services.
The QT was with Cr Jones in Cr Pisasale's office and there was no mention before he fell ill of corruption or the implications of the bizarre scones matter.
Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood was scathing of Mr Duffy's Facebook post and its timing.
"I think it is absolutely disgraceful," Cr Attwood said. "Steve Jones has dedicated a great deal of his life to looking after residents of his shire.
"He put his own life in danger in the 2011 floods to rescue people, and we have some turkey…some blow-in to Ipswich…criticising him for being in the mayor's office in Ipswich where he was in fact promoting the benefits of sport to young people.
"Steve was there to ensure the people in his shire had the best sporting opportunities and facilities they could have.
"And this turkey is having a go at him while he is in hospital, suggesting he was there to talk about corruption. Give me a break."
Cr Attwood said Mr Duffy's insinuation in his post was "a low blow".
"That is un-Australian," Cr Attwood said.
Ipswich businessman Greg Forster wrote a letter to the editor in today's QT criticising what he said was Mr Duffy's negativity in his campaign.
Mr Forster said Mr Duffy's latest comments indicated he "doesn't have the ticker for public office" and said this was a case "where all bets are off and you just wish all the best" for Cr Jones' health.
Mr Forster said it was unacceptable for Mr Duffy to wish Cr Jones well and then take a swipe at him.
"That is like shaking your right hand while stabbing you with the left," he said. "There is no place in Ipswich for cheap shots like that.
"It is a low blow.
"Mr Duffy had nothing positive to say in this campaign, which is where my letter stemmed from.
"It just seems to be a lot of mudslinging."
The QT asked Mr Duffy whether his post was inappropriate in the circumstances.
"I don't think it is," Mr Duffy said.
"Because that was about bullying, and about how councillors are bullied inside the council into doing things they shouldn't do.
"That was the thing that was tabled in parliament.
"There is a lot to come with that yet, and within the next two weeks there will be a lot of papers tabled in parliament on corruption in councils."
The QT asked Mr Duffy to outline what he was referring to with the 'scones controversy' in his post and he said the first 15 papers tabled in parliament were about Lockyer Valley Council.
Mr Duffy said he was concerned about what the papers had to say about a female councillor in the Lockyer.
"That was part of the submission.
"A councillor up in the Lockyer was found guilty by the mayor of Lockyer council of misconduct, or inappropriate behaviour, because she supplied a retirement village with scones at the Anzac memorial display.
"A lot of people who have been burned and hurt - a lot of councillors and council staff (in Queensland) - have all put submissions to state ministers."
Mr Duffy said the fact Cr Jones was seriously ill didn't mean it was out of line for him to make his comments.
"But this (female) councillor's problem doesn't go away," he said.
"I have spent five months in hospital after a heart operation and I was told I wasn't coming out.
"It might sound insensitive but I said at the beginning that we hope (Cr Jones) recovers. I wish the Lockyer mayor nothing but health, but we have got to consider that a lot of regional councils are facing a lot of questions in the short term."
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