Off the wire
Dollar changing hands in upper 107 yen range in early Tokyo trade  • Tokyo stocks rise in early trade on yen's retreat, cheap buybacks  • Xinhua world news summary at 0030 GMT, April 12  • Urgent: Brazil commission recommends impeachment against President Rousseff  • China's RMB unlikely to depreciate largely this year, U.S. expert says  • Argentina's Boca and River, pressed for replacements  • Athletes endorse Rio 2016 weightlifting venue  • Gilberto Silva in talks with Las Vegas City  • Portuguese soccer league result/standings  • Roundup: UN chief underlines role of population development in achieving global sustainable development  
You are here:   Home

Celebrity mayor, "dysfunctional" council sacked by Aust'n state gov't

Xinhua, April 12, 2016 Adjust font size:

An Australian state government has taken the extraordinary step of sacking the "dysfunctional" council and high-profile mayor of Victoria's largest regional city, Geelong.

Australian media reported that Victoria's Local Government Minister, Natalie Hutchins, would table a motion in state parliament on Tuesday to dismiss Geelong's celebrity mayor Darryn Lyons and his entire council.

The legislation, which will effectively leaves the 200,000-people city without an elected local government until October 2020, follows an inquiry that found the council had failed to provide "good government."

"It is not a decision that has been taken lightly," Hutchins said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The people of Geelong deserve better. The city is too important for it to be run by a dysfunctional council that is simply unable to work together."

A previous report, filed by Human Rights Commissioner Susan Halliday, alleged Lyons and councillors had engaged in systematic bullying, sexism and favoritism.

Lyons, a former paparazzi photographer, became Geelong's mayor in a shock election result in 2014.

The 50-year-old media personality came under fire last year for wearing a "sexist" T-shirt, and has previously been sued by a bevy of high-profile celebrities including Lily Allen, JK Rowling, Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley for invasion of privacy and harassment.

Lyons said it would a "sad day" for democracy if the government went through with the sacking without first allowing due process to take place.

"I make no apologies for being robust and forthright in demanding accountability from people working for Geelong and paid by the taxpayer/ratepayer purse, which is what I was voted in to do," Lyons said on Tuesday.

Although the government will need to the support of the Coalition cross-benchers to pass the legislation, Fairfax Media has reported that the motion will pass without resistance.

Opposition leader, Matthew Guy, and his cabinet will be briefed on the proposal before voting on the legislation Tuesday.

The Victorian government has dismissed six local governments in the last 18 years -- but never in a city as large as Geelong.

If successful, the state government will appoint an independent administrator to serve as caretaker until the next election in four and a half years. Endit