A group of sacked Ipswich City councillors have lost their unfair dismissal claim, and ordered to pay costs of the council.
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission ruled the councillors did not qualify as employees, therefore, it did not have the authority to hear the case.
Sacked Ipswich City councillors lose unfair dismissal
The Queensland government sacked the group amid a corruption scandal in 2018.
Wayne Wendt, Cheryl Bromage, David Pahlke, David Morrison, Charlie Pisasale, Paul Tully and Sheila Ireland argued their dismissal had been unjust and unreasonable.
As a result, the group asked the IR Commission to reinstate them.
However, Commissioner Minna Knight found the councillors were not employees, rather elected representatives under the Local Government Act.
Therefore, Ms Knight said the Commission lacked the authority to rule on the matter.
“An employment relationship between the councillors and the council did not exist at the time the Ipswich City Council was dissolved.”
“SACKED IPSWICH CITY COUNCILLORS CLAIM UNFAIR DISMISSAL”
Councillors argued council treated them as employees
Tully argued in the Commission that he received a salary, fringe benefits and worker compensation coverage, which applied to all council employees.
Additionally, the group argued:
- they received payslips;
- had been provided with mobile phones and cars at the council’s expense;
- took direction from the chief executive; and
- were subject to policies and procedures.
However, Ms Knight found none to be “persuasive”.
Furthermore, she said it is not unusual for people appointed to an office to be provided with a record of payment, “tools of the trade” or fall under workplace policies.
Finally, she noted the chief executive of the council did not appoint the councillors to their positions, nor did any of them sign an employment contract.
As a result, Ms Knight ordered the councillors to pay the council’s costs.
Tully and Ireland have since returned to office after being voted in at the March local government election.
Please call our specialist team at Fair Work Claims today on
To connect with us, please follow us on
Fair Work Claims is part of the Supportah Network.
We are a private consultancy and advocacy firm with no affiliation to any government agency, commission or tribunal.