Scenic Rim Mayor says online petition is defamatory and impacts council staff

RESPONSE: Mayor Christensen said it was time to speak out against those attempting to sully council's reputation on social media.

RESPONSE: Mayor Christensen said it was time to speak out against those attempting to sully council's reputation on social media.

SCENIC Rim Mayor Greg Christensen has labelled a petition complaining that council is secretive defamatory.

Cr Christensen said the online campaign brought the Scenic Rim Regional Council into disrepute.

One of the petitioners, Beechmont resident Tom Sharp, said the petition was not defamatory and did not bring the council into disrepute.

"It raises community concerns about the apparent gag which has been applied to councillors and council business," he said.

"I remind the mayor that democracy is best served by meetings conducted in public, not behind closed doors."

The petition on change.org has been signed by more than 1000 people.

It calls on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to investigate so-called secret council meetings.

Cr Christensen tabled a mayoral minute at yesterday's online council meeting about the petition.

"Several commentators within our local communities have propagated a series of false and misinformed allegations and assertions aimed at the operation and performance of this council," he said.

"These actions suggest that there is a lack of proper understanding outside of council, of the legislative and regulatory environment that council is required to operate in.

"Most recently this poorly informed pattern of attack has evolved into a change.org petition based, again, on false assertions and, quite frankly defamatory innuendo under the banner Stop the Rot at Scenic Rim Regional Council.

"While we appreciate freedom of speech in our democratic environment, these misinformed attacks not only are a disservice to our community, but by association, they also attack the more than 400 excellent hard working council employees."

Cr Derek Swanborough questioned Cr Christensen's statement that the petition was an attack on employees.

Mr Sharp, who ran against Cr Christensen at the last election, said if there was no gag binding councillors to silence, then the mayor should immediately publish information on a range of issues.

This included the submission to the Queensland Heritage Council objecting to the heritage listing of the Pig & Calf saleyards and the resolution cancelling the yards' lease.

It also called for details on the building proposed for Davidson Park, details of land bought at Lupton Road, and evidence that compelled council to move to a closed session for disciplinary matters relating to Office of the Independent Assessor complaints.

Cr Christensen said many residents supported council but did not speak up for fear of a backlash.

"They sometimes apologise and reassure me that what is in the papers and on social media is not truly the voice of the community," he said.

Cr Duncan McInnes said he was not aware of any intimidation.

Cr Christensen said complaints should be taken to the OIA and the Crime and Corruption Commission, both of which would require evidence to support accusations.