QT division 2 council candidate forum. Paul Tully. Picture: Cordell Richardson
QT division 2 council candidate forum. Paul Tully. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Tully’s comments called out by investigative body

THE Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) has labelled statements made by former Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully, who is now seeking re-election, to be potentially misleading.

The comments related to complaints and possible investigations into the former councillor.

The OIA heard a recording of the QT's Division 2 candidate forum last week at which Mr Tully stated, "I'm not aware of any investigations at all of the OIA into me."

When reminded the question put to him related to complaints and not investigations Mr Tully responded, "That's what I said."

"I'm not aware of anything involving me."

The comments made at the forum were later published by the Queensland Times on 7 March, 2020.

The QT also published comments made by Mr Tully last week, which he stated he was "not aware" of any investigation by the OIA.

The independent Assessor Kathleen Florian said she considered Mr Tully's comments about whether he was the subject of complaints to and/or investigations by the OIA could reasonably be seen to be misleading and to distort the facts.

"The OIA has been in contact with Mr Tully a number of times regarding outstanding matters against him, so he is aware these exist," Ms Florian said.

"When complaints and investigations are finalised notices are sent to all parties to advise them the matter has been finalised and of the outcome, and no such notice has been sent to Mr Tully about the matters involving him."

The OIA said it had previously declined to identify Mr Tully as the subject of any unresolved misconduct matters, as per its media policy.

The media policy does state the OIA will consider whether it is appropriate and fair to release information where facts have been misrepresented or distorted.

"Given the misleading nature of the public comments by Mr Tully in the lead-up to the March election, the OIA has acted to address the statements," a spokesperson said.

"Before taking this step, the OIA provided Mr Tully with an opportunity to clarify his comments on the record, and he declined to do so."

In a statement, Mr Tully said he was notified of matters by the OIA in January 2019 which were comprehensively responded to by him through his lawyer in November 2019. 

He said he was of the view that the matters had been resolved following the detailed response provided through his lawyer in November 2019.

The former councillor said he believed that he had provided all information needed to resolve the matter. 

He claimed there had been no further correspondence received since then from the OIA in relation to any complaint and said he had not been advised by the OIA that an investigation has commenced. 

The OIA maintained that notices are sent to all parties to advise them when a complaint or investigation has been finalised and of its outcome. It said a notice had not been sent to Mr Tully.

Mr Tully said he stood by his statement last week that he is not aware he is under investigation by the OIA. 

He said he was happy to meet with the OIA at any time to clarify the situation.