Monday, 8 August 2011

MS-stricken Clare Sutton sacked by Brisbane councillor Fiona King over husband's job with Bob Katter's Australian Party

by Patrick Lion
    Clare Sutton 
    GUTTED: Clare Sutton with husband Luke Shaw and children Grace, 12, and Olivia, 8, at home in Hamilton. Pic: Jamie Hanson Source: The Sunday Mail (Qld)

A BRISBANE city councillor has sacked a seriously ill staffer just days after her husband was hired by Bob Katter's Australian Party. 

Clare Sutton, who has multiple sclerosis, is considering legal action over her sacking as a ward officer by Brisbane Liberal National Party councillor Fiona King last week.

The termination came only days after Mr Katter revealed his new campaign director was Ms Sutton's husband, Luke Shaw, the former Young Nationals member who infamously served as jury foreman for Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen's 1991 perjury trial.

Cr King yesterday rejected the claims, saying the sacking was necessary because Mr Shaw bullied her during a phone call after she earlier raised his job with Ms Sutton.

Ms Sutton said her husband denied the bullying allegation. She said the loss of the job had left her family in turmoil.

"As someone with an illness, I have found it increasingly difficult to secure work in recent times."

Ms Sutton claims Cr King told her: "Luke's new job is causing major problems. (Lord Mayor) Graham Quirk knows, (former lord mayor and state LNP leader) Campbell Newman knows."
Cr King yesterday confirmed an afternoon conversation took place, but denied Ms Sutton's version of it.

"I was disappointed that Clare had not told me about her husband's new political role but ... I was hopeful ... there would not be any problems," she said.

"After the Monday night phone call from Mr Shaw this clearly made Clare's position untenable."

In her termination letter the next day, Office of the Lord Mayor executive manager Peter Rule did not list a reason for the sacking, but said it was allowed under her contract.

Mr Newman denied any involvement.

"Any suggestion that he has been involved in the termination is false," a spokesman said.
Cr Quirk also denied he was involved.

"I had no involvement in Cr King's decision to terminate the employment of Clare Sutton," he said.

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