Councillor resigns on radio
A Tasmanian councillor has resigned live on radio, saying ongoing “personal attacks” and online harassment have been “too much”.
Rachel Power was elected to the Derwent Valley Council last November, but has now had enough.
“It's time for me to walk away,” she told ABC Radio Hobart this week.
“There's been a number of personal attacks from people that I didn't expect it from.
“It's one thing to read what people say about council, it's another thing to see what they say about you personally.”
The Derwent Valley Council has been under close media and public scrutiny this year.
Police have attended four of the council's meetings this year, and council staff recently wrote to the council’s general manager urging him to ban the Mayor from council chambers.
Ms Power says the community is “pulling the council group apart”.
“The public wants blood, they want people to be sacked, they want people to resign, they want people out,” she said.
“The toll's not worth it.”
Dean Winter, the mayor of Kingborough, wants the State Government to intervene.
“These are not professional politicians,” Cr Winter said.
“They have a day job and they have families and a life well and truly outside of the political bubble.
“It's about being respectful and understanding that people are signing up to do these roles for very little money and they're doing it because they love their community and they want to do the right thing for it.”
Tasmanian councillors are paid from $9,546 to $37,198, depending on the council, and can receive some additional allowances if elected mayor or deputy mayor.
Unlike state and federal politicians, councillors have no advisers, drivers or other staff.
Ms Power said she was unable to respond to online criticism because she was bound by the code of conduct for councillors.
“We can't stop those lies with truth and we're not getting any support from people … we've asked the Local Government Director [and] Minister to step in and sort this out,” she said.
“Stop leaving it to us to defend ourselves when we need the support of those who are there to protect us.”
The code of conduct is included in Tasmania's Local Government Act, which is currently under review by the State Government.
Minister for Local Government Mark Shelton says it is “disappointing to hear when hardworking councillors feel like they need to step down”.
“Bullying and harassment on social media and other online platforms is unacceptable and it is important that everyone in the community is mindful of the importance of raising concerns and issues in a respectful manner.”