TENSIONS RISE: Mayor lodges complaint against Lister
A STOUSH between Mayor Tracy Dobie and Southern Downs MP James Lister has intensified with the mayor calling on the LNP leadership to take action.
Cr Dobie started talks with senior party officials over claims Mr Lister made about the councillors' ineligibility to vote on de-amalgamation.
In a letter to the Stanthorpe Border Post on March 28, Mr Lister claimed councillors would face a pay cut if the Southern Downs was split and it was their personal interest to vote against de-amalgamation.
"I point out, the (council) as an organisation is in no way an impartial participant in the debate,” he said.
Cr Dobie said that was false and said Mr Lister would be aware of the details if he attended regular meetings with the council, something she claims he has refused to do.
"Instead of engaging with local government to understand the issues we are managing every day he chooses to comment on social media and engage in letters to the editor and commentary in the newspaper,” she said
The mayor added that while Mr Lister had the right to make his views known, it was her belief many of those were misinformed.
"He is making those statements as a Member of Parliament, not a ratepayer,” she said.
"Being a member of parliament brings a certain level of respect to the community, and he needs to show the community respect by making sure when he speaks about local government that he is speaking accurately and independently, as a representative of the whole of the region.”
Cr Dobie said the de-amalgamation proceedings followed strict guidelines set down by the Queensland Government.
"If Mr Lister is not happy with the process, and he is representing residents who are not happy with the process, that is something he should be taking to the State Government and seeking a legislative change of the process,” she said.
The de-amalgamation debate has stirred up strong emotions on all sides and Mr Lister said it was his hope the tensions between himself and with council would settle.
"Did Tracy really say those things about me?” he said.
"I'm okay with being criticised by other politicians, and I'll let the people judge whether the things that others say about me are right.''
Mr Lister said he did not have problems with any other council in his electorate.
"I have a job to do and my priorities are giving a voice to people's concerns, and representing them when they ask for my help,” he said.
"I've not refused to meet with the council. I have just asked that we meet in an open council meeting instead of behind closed doors but they have refused.''
LNP leader Deb Frecklington said she had not spoken to Cr Dobie but backed the Member for Southern Downs.
"James Lister is a hard-working local MP,” she said.
"It is the role of an MP to advocate for the local community and that is what James is doing.”