Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale explains his $5000 fine
MAYOR Paul Pisasale has called for consistency across all tiers of government on register of interests rules after being fined $5000 following a review by the Department of Local Government.
Cr Pisasale was fined after it was determined he had erred in lodging his register of interests with Ipswich City Council.
The QT reported on March 12 this year that former mayoral candidate Gary Duffy had written to CEO Jim Lindsay on October 6, 2015 to allege there was a discrepancy between Cr Pisasale's register of interests and what was on the websites of Antaria and Byte Power.
Mr Lindsay referred the complaint to the Department of Local Government whose regional conduct review panel deliberated on the facts before making its decision.
The review centred on shares Cr Pisasale's company Waltill owned in Antaria and Byte Power.
Cr Pisasale has since sold the shares.
Cr Pisasale said he got advice from a former CEO of the council, not the current CEO Jim Lindsay, about how to record his interests.
He said the error was administrative, there was no intent to mislead and no criminal activity.
"I had shares in Antaria and Byte Power and my company was buying the shares," Cr Pisasale told the QT.
"Tony Russell, my stockbroker in Ipswich, buys and sells my shares.
"So I had gone to the (former) CEO and he said all I had to do was declare the company because I wasn't buying the shares, my company was.
"I followed the advice and during the election different advice came along after my opponent (Mr Duffy) had questioned it.
"So it went to the Department of Local Government for clarification.
"They have said there was no intent to deceive anybody or hide anything because everybody knew during the election from (media) sources that I was a part of Antaria.
"The two companies (Antaria and Byte Power) had no dealings with Ipswich whatsoever.
"The moment it was brought to my attention I put it in my register but what they are saying is that there was a technical breach.
"They are saying that now I should report to council about the matter, and I am happy to do that.
"There is $5000 I will give to council and I am hopeful they will distribute that to the community."
Cr Pisasale said there was confusion about register of interests and donation rules and there needed to be consistency across all tiers of government.
"The issue for me is that as a mayor and councillor this affects the whole state," he said.
"We rely on the CEO's advice but people are saying we have to seek our own advice and make our own decisions.
"What is really needed is for someone to take control of local, state and federal and have the same rules for donations and register of interests so there is no confusion.
"Do we need independent lawyers in council to give councillors advice so we don't make the wrong decision?
"Or do we need a system where the rules are clear for all and everyone understands it?
"Because right now the rules aren't clear and everywhere I go people are confused."