Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale talks to media at St Andrew's Private Hospital to announce his resignation as Mayor in 2017.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale talks to media at St Andrew's Private Hospital to announce his resignation as Mayor in 2017.

Pisasale, and the day I thought might never come

OPINION: TODAY was a day I wasn't always sure would eventuate.

There is something surreal about seeing Paul Pisasale locked up for the next couple of years, even though he has already spent more than a year in the can anyway.

This day represents what I hope is the end of a very difficult phase in our history, a day we can hopefully mark down as a turning point.

Ipswich has been dragged through the mire just at the time where we hoped to rebuild, and it is all thanks to the man who many of us once thought was our greatest champion.

At this point I should acknowledge that not everyone always thought the world of Paul Pisasale.

There was always a sniff of controversy around him, and there were those who always seemed to be determined to expose him.

 

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale announces the purchase of the mall by the council in 2009.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale announces the purchase of the mall by the council in 2009.

 

With the benefit of hindsight we can now see they were on the right track.

Even my earliest memories of the man they once called Mr Ipswich - before they called him that - were that there were rumours.

I recall sitting upstairs at the old Players nightclub in the early 2000s - then as an aspiring journalist - watching on as Pisasale conducted a midnight meeting with another gentleman, and wondering if my work would one day see us cross paths.

That was before Pisasale was mayor, but even then people knew he had big aspirations, and they were talking about the things he may or may not have done.

The most infamous political controversy surrounding Pisasale in the pre-mayoral days was the Net Bet Affair of the late 90s.

Of course, he was cleared of any wrongdoing, but it would be the first of several investigations into his activities.

 

Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale (centre) arrives at the Brisbane Magistrates Court in Brisbane, Wednesday, August 23, 2017. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale (centre) arrives at the Brisbane Magistrates Court in Brisbane, Wednesday, August 23, 2017. (AAP Image/Darren England)

 

I recall the word "teflon" getting thrown around in reference to Paul Pisasale's ability to stay out of any real strife.

As his election winning margins continued to rise to almost ridiculous levels, it did indeed appear that Paul would retire and be long gone from politics before any of the mud being slung would stick.

People would say - and some still do - that Paul was "getting things done, so leave him be".

There was a very confusing period from about 2014 to 2017 where there was a very strong anti-Pisasale movement, yet his public support had never been stronger or more defiant regarding the rumours surrounding the man.

It was during this period that I believe the Queensland Times did not do enough to put Pisasale to task on the allegations being made against him. In short, we got it wrong.

In subsequent years we have tried to improve in this area.

Of course, it all famously blew up in early 2017, and the rest is history.

There is a sad irony in the fact that the man whose well advertised mission was always to change the perception of Ipswich as a laughable Brisbane backwater - a sort of poor cousin - has led us back into national headlines for all the wrong reasons.

But my honest opinion is that this always needed to happen.

Justice has been served, and we can finally move on.


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