After less than a year in the role, Danny Gibson has resigned as Launceston’s Mayor.
“After careful consideration I have made the very difficult decision to step down as the Mayor of Launceston,” said Cr Gibson.
Educated at Hagley Farm Primary School and St. Patricks College, Councillor Gibson is a proud Northern Tasmanian, who has enjoyed a career in print media, arts education, the small business sector, events and the performing arts.
Cr Gibson was first elected to the City of Launceston in October 2011. Councillor Gibson has served as a volunteer, supporter and patron of many not-for-profit organisations and events and coordinated Launceston’s family-friendly Carols by Candlelight event for eight years.
After being elected Mayor of Launceston in November of 2022, Danny Gibson served 6 months before resigning. “I think I provided authentic and energetic leadership. I had seven new Councillors and a new Deputy Mayor to induct, and I believe I was doing a good job. I gave it my all.”
“I have loved being Mayor …. but the past few weeks have been too much.”
“I wish I had the strength to rise above it, to battle through it, but my mental health has reached breaking point.” Gibson says
Cr Gibson advised the Council on May 15 that his decision stems from ongoing uncertainty over a Department of Justice review of his Working with Vulnerable People registration, which has resulted in vitriolic commentary on social media from some segments of the community.
“Over the past two months I have been the target of speculation, rumour and vile attacks, stemming from media reports and persistent and relentless questioning about my Working with Vulnerable People Registration.”
With the substance and timeframe of the review unclear, Cr Gibson advised his position as Mayor was no longer tenable.
“The focus has switched from the city to me and that is not what I stand for. It is clear that individuals spreading smear, innuendo and outright lies about me will stop at nothing in their attempts to destroy me and my reputation.”
In line with existing protocols, Deputy Mayor Matthew Garwood will now become Acting Mayor of the City of Launceston until a new election for Mayor can be arranged by the Tasmanian Electoral Commission. Matthew Garwood has stated he is “absolutely ready to handle the role”.
Cr Gibson has received an onslaught of support following his resignation, from persons online and colleagues alike. “For me the most important thing is, not standing for Mayor but ensuring that Danny is in the best place that he can be, and that he’s got the support around him, and that he’s got my support as a friend.” said Mayor Garwood
Councillor Alan Haris has raised the issue of denial of natural justice, “I think there’s some questions to be asked by the department of justice because there’s been a denial of natural justice, of Danny, if an investigation is happening that should not become public knowledge.”
Going forward, Danny Gibson will continue to serve as a councillor at the City of Launceston and when asked if he was likely to run for the position of Mayor again, he responded “Definitely not, but I am committed to getting behind the next Mayor.”
The Council’s business continuity plans cater to changes in political leadership, and the organisation will continue to deliver its services and strategic projects on behalf of the people of Launceston, as the process to determine a new Mayor begins.
A by-election, conducted by postal ballot, will be held to fill the vacancy for the Mayor position for the City of Launceston in July 2023. Voting is compulsory in local government elections for all electors on the State roll.
To find out more on how to vote go to: https://www.launceston.tas.gov.au/Council/Local-Government-Elections/Voting