UNDER FIRE: Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller denies claims by Cr Victor Attwood that she urged him to do 'an Underwood' on Mayor Paul Pisasale.
UNDER FIRE: Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller denies claims by Cr Victor Attwood that she urged him to do 'an Underwood' on Mayor Paul Pisasale. Bev Lacey

MP Miller denies telling deputy mayor to get rid of Pisasale

THE bitter feud between Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller and Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has taken an explosive new turn.

The QT can reveal that on May 29 last year, Ms Miller, the Bundamba MP, allegedly encouraged Deputy Mayor Cr Victor Attwood to overthrow the Mayor, made comments about Cr Pisasale's heavily scrutinised mayoral funds and said "there was more to come out yet".

Ms Miller has denied making the comments, but Cr Attwood has handed a signed affidavit to the QT confirming his version of events, and Mayor Pisasale has also signed an affidavit saying his deputy mayor told him of the discussion at the time.

Cr Attwood's recollections of that conversation are corroborated by an email he sent to Cr Pisasale three days later.

Cr Attwood said Ms Miller's comments, which he claims later included a suggestion Cr Pisasale would "end up in jail", were "highly inappropriate" considering her role at the time as Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee, which later became the CCC.

But Ms Miller is adamant the comments attributed to her are not accurate.

"There is no truth in these claims. None whatsoever. I refute each and every one of them," she said.

On June 2, 2014 Cr Pisasale was referred to the CMC which subsequently led to a year-long investigation into the operation of his mayoral funds and other allegations against him. He was cleared of any wrongdoing.

"What happened was I was representing the Mayor and myself at the Goodna Police Station to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the police on May 29 last year," Cr Attwood said.

"It was when all the stuff with Paul was starting to heat up and getting quite a bit of coverage.

"Jo-Ann said to me: 'When are you guys going to do an Underwood on Pisasale?'

"I said: 'What?'"

Cr Attwood said Ms Miller repeated herself.

"And I said: 'What are you talking about?'

"She said, 'You know, take all his power away…sack him'.

"I said, 'We can't sack him. Anyway, he hasn't done anything wrong'.

"She said, 'Yes he has. He's been putting money through that fund'."


Cr Attwood said he reiterated to Ms Miller that no guilty verdict on Cr Pisasale had been reached on accusations about improper use of his mayoral funds, but that in the event there was it would be something council would "have to look at".

"But I said that as he hadn't done anything wrong that we weren't going to be doing an Underwood on him and wouldn't be taking any powers off him," Cr Attwood said.

The Queensland Times does not believe or suggest that Mr Underwood had done anything wrong but was merely the victim of political factionalism.

"Jo-Ann said that there were more allegations to come and more stuff that needed to be investigated.

"She said that to me at the Goodna Police Station, but she has also said it to me at different community functions over the whole time that the CCC stuff was ongoing.

"She was always keen to hear what the latest was in regards to what was going on with the Mayor and the CCC inquiry.

"She would make comments like 'doesn't look good…he'll end up in jail' or 'there is a lot more to come out yet'.

"I thought it was out of order, given her role as the deputy chair of the CCC."

Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood says Jo-Ann Miller encouraged him to overthrow Mayor Paul Pisasale.
Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood says Jo-Ann Miller encouraged him to overthrow Mayor Paul Pisasale.


QT readers may well wonder what Ms Miller meant by the phrase 'do an Underwood' on the Mayor.

In 1993 the Ipswich Labor caucus expelled Mayor David Underwood and appointed Deputy Mayor Norm Kruger as the Council Leader.

He was later expelled from the Labor Party.

"So doing 'an Underwood' means you would strip the Mayor of all his responsibilities and that he would become a ceremonial figure," Cr Attwood said.

"I am not even sure that if under the current legislation we would have been able to do that anyway."

Cr Pisasale, who was cleared by the CCC of allegations made against him, said Cr Attwood rang him after the conversation he'd had with Ms Miller last year in Goodna, and that he subsequently called the CMC.

"I was devastated," Cr Pisasale said.

"I rang an investigating officer for the CMC and told them what Jo-Ann Miller had said to my Deputy Mayor...that they should do a David Underwood on me and that there was more to come." Cr Pisasale would not reveal the identity of the man he made the call to, however.

"I asked if there was any validity in what she had said and they told me 'none whatsoever'.

"I'd been told by other Labor Party people that she had said in branch meetings that I could go to jail and that the CCC was coming to arrest me.

"I am happy to testify in court and put in a stat dec'. I don't make up these stories and Victor doesn't either."

Cr Attwood sent Cr Pisasale an email at 12.51pm on Monday June 2, 2014 which outlined details of his conversation with Ms Miller at the Goodna Police Station.

In it, he said he said he told Ms Miller that Cr Pisasale had done nothing wrong in relation to his register of interests and other matters. Cr Attwood outlined Ms Miller's response in his email to Cr Pisasale where he wrote:

"Her reply was just wait and see there's more to come out yet, that Cr Tully and I along with the other Councillors should do an Underwood on you to relegate you to a ceremonial role only in council. I replied that won't be happening!"