David Gibson vows to fight on despite ethics stand down
UPDATE: 1.48pm: EMBATTLED Member for Gympie David Gibson has resigned his position as chairman of the ethics committee but vowed to fight those who would seek to bring him down as the State Member for Gympie.
"I intend to continue to serve my constituents, the (LNP) party and the people of Queensland… " Mr Gibson said.
The circulation of documents revealing he was he was placed on good behaviour by an ACT Magistrates Court in 1999 for stealing $7000 from the Australian Army have brought to a head what Mr Gibson has described as two years of political blackmail, ongoing intimidation, mud raking and "dirt files".
The thefts, though 15 years old, had been Gympie's "worst kept secret" for the past two years, he said.
He said a failed development application for Rainbow Shores, near Rainbow Beach, had triggered businessman Scott Elms' vendetta.
Mr Gibson would not be drawn on whether he believed he would survive pre-selection ahead of the next State election, or what mitigating circumstances had led to the charges of 1999.
UPDATE 1.35pm: Gympie MP David Gibson has stood down from State Parliament's Select Ethics Committee over claims he stole thousands of dollars while in the army.
The move came after former LNP member-turned independent candidate Scott Elms released court documents that show Mr Gibson faced the ACT Magistrates Court in 1999 and was allegedly found guilty of theft for stealing $7,000.
Mr Gibson was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond and ordered to pay a $1,000 surety, but no conviction was recorded.
The Queensland MP earlier denied he was unfit to head the Ethics Committee.
But news outlets reported a short time ago that Mr Gibson had announced he would stand down from the position.
The Gympie MP was holding a press conference at his office.
Mr Gibson had earlier told ABC Radio the charges - dating back to when he was a 31-year-old officer in the army in 1999 - had given him the life experience needed to do his job better.
"I wish I could go back and change the past but I can't, but what I can do is learn from the past," Mr Gibson said.
"It has made a better person because of the lesson I have taken from it.''
Independent Nambour-based MP Peter Wellington called for Mr Gibson to step down as head of the parliamentary committee.
Mr Wellington says the latest claims raise serious questions about whether Mr Gibson should remain in Parliament, the ABC reported.
"The matters that I've now been perusing really raise questions in my mind about the fitness of Mr Gibson to not just continue to be a member of our State Parliament, but more importantly, about his fitness to chair this select parliamentary committee - a parliamentary committee chosen to investigate serious matters," he said.
Battle for safe seat of Gympie gets dirty
The battle for the safe seat of Gympie got dirty as self proclaimed "ethics campaigner" and Independent candidate Scott Elms launched a website attack on Mr Gibson.
The website contains explosive allegations against Mr Gibson.
One document dating back to the late 90s, which Mr Elms claims is from the ACT Magistrates Court, says Mr Gibson was caught stealing from the Australian Army.
He was put on a 12-month good behaviour bond with a recognisance of $1000 for funnelling army funds of $7335 into personal accounts.
The offences happened over a 9-month period.
Mr Elms sent out a press release yesterday morning to all Rainbow Beach businesses, the media, all Gympie LNP members and State MPs.
He said it was a "brave act" done in the name of "free-speech and a healthy democracy".
The press release contained information which, if true, could end the career of the Member for Gympie.
The release also contained a link to the website which included more documentation and recordings.
"I know some people won't understand why I am doing this," Mr Elms said.
"I would ask them would you be okay with not investigating or considering our politicians' pasts."
"When David Gibson committed these offences he was a 31-year-old officer in the Australian Army.
"He was highly trained and in a position of trust and responsibility; he can't plead the old 'I was young and stupid' on this one.
"It's only right that the voters of Gympie know who the true David Gibson is before voting for him.
"This places a big question mark over David Gibson's honesty."
Mr Elms said releasing the documents placed the ball squarely in David Gibson's court.
"It will be telling to see if he does the right and decent thing by explaining himself to the electorate or if he goes into cover-up mode.
"Whatever happens I know in my heart that I have done my best and I am motivated by a genuine desire to make Queensland a more open, transparent and fair place to live," Mr Elms said.
"I know senior people within the Queensland Government will be very unhappy with me releasing this document, but they need to understand that all I'm doing is speaking the truth."
Mr Elms said he exhausted all avenues within the LNP, where he moved a motion at last year's convention that would see greater scrutiny of members of parliament by the voters.
"Last year I successfully moved a resolution at the LNP State Convention that would see Queenslanders with a much greater ability to scrutinise candidates and members of parliament," he said.
"The resolution was unanimously accepted by the LNP Convention, but later I received a letter from Attorney General Jarrod Bleije saying he wasn't interested."
The Gympie Times contacted Queensland Premier Campbell Newman's office yesterday for comment on the claims.
As of close of business yesterday there was no response from the Premier.