Mayor told to stand down by premier, council colleagues

Fraser Barton |

Townsville mayor Troy Thompson has been referred to Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission.
Townsville mayor Troy Thompson has been referred to Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission.

A Queensland mayor who blamed “100-plus” concussions after misleading voters has been told to stand down, with his council colleagues joining the call.

Troy Thompson had vowed not to step down as Townsville mayor despite conceding he had falsely declared details about his military history and his university studies.

But Queensland Premier Steven Miles on Friday said it was in the best interests of Townsville, Australia’s largest garrison city.

All 10 Townsville councillors agreed, later asking Mr Thompson to resign in an open letter read to the media outside chambers. 

Mr Thompson had apologised on Nine Network’s A Current Affair on Thursday night after making a number of concessions about his past.

“Just on the basis of what he has acknowledged he’s done, that would seem sufficient to me for him to stand down in the interest of Townsville,” Mr Miles said.

“Of all the places to lie about your military service, Townsville would have to be just about the worst and I’m sure that the Townsville population takes a very dim view of that.”

Queensland Premier Steven Miles
Queensland Premier Steven Miles called on the Townville mayor to step aside. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Mr Thompson had been challenged about his Australian Defence Force career since Anzac Day after he was unable to recall his service number.

He was this week referred to Queensland’s corruption watchdog over claims during his successful mayoral campaign he had served five years in the military.

Mr Thompson told Nine he had in fact served less than three years.

“Those who know me know that I’ve had multiple concussions – 100-plus – and I suffer from epilepsy,” he told A Current Affair.

“That’s not an excuse but what it says is you’re going to forget things from time to time.”

In an open letter, Townsville councillors on Friday said Mr Thompson had lost their confidence.

“If you do not resign we will move a motion at next week’s council meeting calling for the Minister for Local Governemnt to suspend you pending the outcome of ongoing investigations,” councillor Suzy Batkovic said.

“We hope that you do the right thing for Townsville and resign and move on to deal with whatever issues led you into this predicament.”

Mr Thompson would not concede he had embellished the truth during his campaign as he was adamant he had served five years until he received his official military records recently.

The mayor backflipped on plans to publicly release his defence dossier.

“I apologise to all services as well as veterans and Defence and I think it’s important to put that out there because I respect the military,” he said.

Mr Thompson conceded he had not finished university after describing himself as a business graduate with two degrees.

Jenny Hill
Troy Thompson unseated Jenny Hill as Mayor of Townsville. (Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS)

Mr Thompson on Friday took a swipe at the media including Nine’s report.

“I gave ACA (A Current Affair) the opportunity to report and have me tell my story, instead they wrote a story to create negativity,” “>he posted on Facebook.

“When media circle your house, bang on your door, harass your family, friends, that is going too far for a story.” 

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