Cr Glenn Churchill.
Cr Glenn Churchill. Paul Braven GLA050416COUNCIL

High Court decision a boon for Gladstone councillor

A RECENT High Court decision means Gladstone councillor Glenn Churchill's choice to seek the LNP's nomination for Flynn might have been a little simpler this year than in the past.

Cr Churchill's preselection candidacy was revealed in The Observer on Sunday.

If Cr Churchill is successful in his nomination against sitting MP Ken O'Dowd, convention once dictated he would have to resign as a councillor before lodging his nomination for the House of Representatives - which can only happen once writs are issued for an election.

But in February the High Court determined the section of the Constitution previously thought to bar councillors standing for election does not deem local councillors "an office of profit under the Crown".

The part of the Constitution in question is the controversial Section 44, which yesterday disqualified another batch of sitting MPs from holding office on citizenship grounds.

The High Court ruled that Steve Martin, the mayor of Tasmanian city Devonport, was eligible to replace Senator Jacqui Lambie in the Senate after she discovered she was a British citizen by descent.

So local councillors can enter Federal Parliament - and Cr Churchill would have options if he got the nod from the LNP.

If Cr Churchill were to resign from the council - whether that be to give the election his full attention, or if he were to win the seat - it would set in motion Gladstone's process for choosing a replacement.

Cr Churchill stood unsuccessfully in Flynn for the National Party in 2007, prior to the party's merger with the Liberals to become the LNP.

He was defeated by now-deputy mayor Chris Trevor, who was then defeated by Mr O'Dowd in 2010.