Vote could see Costigan banned from Whitsunday schools
WHITSUNDAY Regional Council will write to the Queensland Education Minister to clarify if Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan will be allowed to enter schools in the region.
Council today voted unanimously to write to the minister, Grace Grace, seeking clarification on what protocols or procedures would be implemented to protect students or teachers who might not want him to attend, should he be allowed to do so.
The move comes as details of allegations about five complaints by women against Mr Costigan were aired in Queensland Parliament on Tuesday by Liberal National Party members.
Councillor Mike Brunker brought up the issue in general business at an ordinary council meeting in Proserpine this morning.
Cr Brunker said he did not believe Mr Costigan should be allowed to go into schools with the allegations that were surrounding him.
"This particular gentleman hasn't been criminally convicted of anything, but I tell you what, in the pub test of morality he should not be allowed near any school in the district," Cr Brunker said.
"What I'm suggesting is if a principal or a teacher or a student has to come in contact with the state member at a school, that there are proper procedures or protocols put in place by the Education Minister.
"I just want to know what the protocols in that are and the minister should be made aware that we have this concern in our area."
Council's interim chief executive officer Bruce Davidson acknowledged the issue had been raised without notice, but agreed council should discuss the subject matter as one "of urgency and strict importance".
Mayor Andrew Willcox said during council discussions he would support the motion.
"I don't know whether there is an investigation or where it is up to. But for the Leader of the Opposition to say that these actions and what she's read makes her skin crawl, then that's good enough for me," Cr Willcox.
"I'm about protecting the people of the Whitsundays and that's what I'll do come hell or high water.
"I don't know whether Mr Costigan's guilty or not, but I'd rather be safe than sorry."
A Department of Education spokesperson said the issue around Mr Costigan visiting schools within his electorate should be treated no differently to any proposed visit by other members of the community.
"Any visit must be subject to the consideration of the individual school principal, and such visits should be contingent on school operations not being disrupted and with respect to the safety and welfare of students enrolled at the school," the spokesperson said.
"Notwithstanding, under normal processes governing visits to schools by politicians, all Members of Parliament are entitled to visit schools within their electorate subject to operational convenience of the particular school."
News Regional has contacted Mr Costigan for comment.