Townsville mayor, facing corruption probe, says it’s all a ‘witch hunt’

A north Queensland mayor who is the subject of a corruption investigation has taken aim at his critics ahead of a no-confidence vote, saying he is the victim of a “witch hunt”.

Jun 05, 2024, updated Jun 05, 2024

Troy Thompson is rejecting calls to step down as Townsville mayor despite being referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) over claims made during his mayoral campaign that he had served five years in the military.

He conceded last week on Nine Network’s A Current Affair that he had misled voters about his army career as well as his university studies, blaming “100-plus” concussions.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles called for Mr Thompson to step aside before all 10 Townsville councillors issued an open letter also demanding the mayor stand down.

The Townsville council is set to move a motion on Wednesday calling on Local Government Minister Meaghan Scanlon to suspend Mr Thompson, pending the corruption watchdog probe’s outcome.

However, Mr Thompson says any effort to suspend him before the investigation’s findings would be “political interference”.

He also demanded an investigation into how the matter had been handled and called for the entire Townsville council to be dissolved if a conflict of interest was found.

Mr Thompson defended himself on Facebook on Tuesday, saying his critics and the media were tearing him down without due process.

“My case is with the CCC but … my position is being judged unfairly due to deliberate media tactics to align with a political party and all while the case is ongoing,” he posted on Facebook.

“The media aren’t being honest, the bullying is clear! Due process must prevail first!”

He also attached the 39 minute Nine interview.

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Mr Thompson said it could be seen as a conflict of interest if the minister intervened before the watchdog probe’s conclusion “based on wrongly reported media content”.

He called on “all correspondence from all Local, State and Ministerial staff to be investigated”.

“If conflict is found, TCC council is dissolved in its entirety, and all positions compromised should be put up for re-election,” he posted.

“The witch hunt should stop until there is a real outcome by the CCC. Business continuity must prevail, CCC investigations take time, and we have work to do.”

Ms Scanlon said it was important that Queenslanders had confidence in their local government representatives.

“We are continuing to monitor this situation, but the CCC is the appropriate entity to investigate these matters,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I will consider any options that may be available to me once the outcomes of this investigation are known.”

Mr Thompson won office in March, unseating Jenny Hill who had been mayor for 12 years.

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