Cr Tim Dwyer and Cr John Connolly made heated remarks toward each other in a council meeting.
Cr Tim Dwyer and Cr John Connolly made heated remarks toward each other in a council meeting.

Council meeting descends into ‘childish’ parking blow-up

A COUNCIL chamber could have been mistaken for a school playground as a "childish" exchange between councillors had Mayor Mark Jamieson asking everyone to "take a couple breaths".

The meeting grew heated when Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer said Cr John Connolly's motion to quash $667 parking fines was a bid to get votes.

Cr Connolly said tickets issued to 13 parkers at a Cotton Tree park on December 28 were the equivalent of a basic wage and more than a fine for drink driving.

Cr Dwyer said parking in a council park was putting lives at risk.

"If there wasn't an election in two months time this wouldn't even be before us today," he said.

"It's easy to be popular and me voting for this today would just be me wanting to be popular."

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Cr Connolly hit back at Cr Dwyer, saying the motion had nothing to do with the election.

"I'm offended by what you're saying and I think this place is going to be a lot better when you're not here," Cr Connolly said.

Cr Dwyer replied with "oh please".

Cr Connolly continued to offload, saying Cr Dwyer was on his "high horse and on moral high ground all the time".

"Don't make things personal son, stay out of it," Cr Connolly said.

" … know your job mate."

Cr Dwyer came back saying he did know how to do his job and told Cr Connolly to use logic.

Cr Connolly said he understood the 13 drivers shouldn't have parked where they did but the fines were excessive.

He motioned to have the fines withdrawn as CEO Michael Whittaker explained he didn't have the power to reduce the amount on the ticket.

Cr Jason O'Pray said he had lived near the park for years and rarely saw families using it for recreation.

The motion also requested more signage in the park and the introduction of a tiered approach to fine amounts.

Cr O'Pray, Cr Jenny McKay, Cr Connolly and Cr Greg Rogerson voted for the motion.

But Cr Steve Robinson, Cr Ted Hungerford, Cr Christian Dixon, Cr Peter Cox, Cr Dwyer, Cr Rick Baberowski and Cr Jamieson voted against it.

The squabble didn't finish at the vote and Cr Dwyer piped up again, telling Cr Connolly his meeting conduct was inappropriate and he would be lodging a formal complaint.

Cr Connolly said "I apologise" before the pair continued to bicker.

Cr Jamieson asked everyone to "take a couple of breaths".

"It's a difficult and challenging issue but let's not lose the decorum that should be expressed in this chamber- John would you stop please - and I think we can easily sometimes say the wrong thing or express it in a way that's not acceptable."

"And I would ask you to, in a gentlemanly way, apologise."

Cr Connolly apologised again but added he "didn't make it personal".

"I've already been particularly insulted by (Cr Connolly) once this term of council and I let that go through the keeper," Cr Dwyer said.

" … it was far more serious than this when I was insulted by Cr Connolly."

Cr Connolly attempted to chime in again before he was tutted by Cr Jamieson and Mr Whittaker.

Former Redland City Council mayor Melva Hobson was sitting in the chamber during the uncomfortable exchange.

"It was childish behaviour," she said.

"Cr Dwyer inappropriately personalised the parking issue … he made a personal slur that Cr Connolly was only raising the issue for votes.

"His behaviour was inappropriate and I'm disappointed other councillors didn't call him out.

"Another thing I found disappointing was throughout the meeting Cr Dwyer was making references to people in the gallery, council candidates and community groups who didn't have the opportunity to defend themselves."

Ms Hobson said both councillors should have been made to apologise for their conduct.


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