Calls for Townsville mayor’s axing after bombshell on-air confession

Queensland Premier Steven Miles has responded to Townsville Mayor Troy Thompson’s damning interview on A Current Affair, where he admitted he misled voters about his education, business acumen and military career.

In an explosive interview, Mr Thompson revealed he never finished university, overdid his military service and committed forgery.

He previously claimed to be a business graduate with two degrees and extensive experience in managing global companies.

His LinkedIn profile listed qualifications from Curtin University and Griffith University, which he admitted were also fake.

“I never finished them,” Mr. Thompson said. “But I started them. And then life changed. It was that simple.”

Mr Thompson apologized to veterans and military personnel for falsely claiming to have served in the Army and SAS for five years. In reality, he only spent six months in initial training with the Army Reservists.

“Those who know me know that I have had several concussions, over 100, and I suffer from epilepsy,” he explained. “This is not an excuse. But he says you’ll forget things from time to time.”

The Independent Assessor’s Office investigated Thompson’s military history and referred the case to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

Premier Miles called on Thompson to resign on Friday, saying Townsville needed a leader who did not mislead his people.

“That would seem to me to be enough for him to step down in the interests of Townsville,” he said.

“Townsville is one of our biggest and most important cities. He cannot afford the uncertainty that will come from a weak leader who has been greatly weakened by their confessions.

“Of all the places you could lie about your military service – Townsville would have to be just about the worst.”

Mr Miles said the “appropriate procedures” were currently in place.

“It is unlikely that we could do anything under these circumstances. Appropriate procedures are being followed to investigate these matters,” he said.

“But I think it’s in the best interests of Townsville that they have a mayor who hasn’t lied to them.”

“I would urge him to seriously consider what is in the best interests of the city he said he cared about when he ran for office.”

Federal MP for Herbert and military veteran Phillip Thompson echoed those sentiments and called on the mayor to resign.

“It’s disappointed a lot of people in the nation’s largest garrison city, and I’ve certainly been shocked and upset by the correspondence I’ve received from the veterans community following these reports,” he said.

“(As an elected leader) you have to be transparent and honest, you have to tell the truth to the community and answer them when the tough questions are asked.

“When that faith is lost, it is extremely difficult to serve the people who have placed their trust in me. Now there is a trust that has been undermined.”

Despite mounting pressure, Mayor Thompson remained defiant, insisting it was business as usual and blaming the media for the negativity.

“I have no intention of resigning as some opponents would like, because when the people were looking for change, no one except my friend Harry (Patel) stood up,” the mayor wrote on Facebook.

“I’m looking forward to a lot of people who are negative about me right now raising their hands in four years’ time, and until then I’m going to try really hard to be transparent and clear about our direction and promote Townsville in the positive light it deserves.

Mr Thompson said he looked forward to discussing the matter at the next council meeting.

“Although I’m disappointed, some councilors have been influenced and have taken this approach,” Thompson told news.com.au.

“I look forward to addressing the matter at the next regular council meeting.”

Mayoral candidate Patel called for a by-election and expressed concern about the city’s image after Thompson’s confession.

“We no longer have confidence in our mayor,” Patel said.

“If it’s so transparent, why are you doing all this?”

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has offered Mr Thompson support, including legal assistance, while the investigation continues.

“This is a matter that is now actually being investigated by the authorities and we have to wait for that to be clarified,” LGAQ chief executive Alison Smith said.

“We are not talking about individual member matters.”

News.com.au has contacted Mayor Thompson for further comment.

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