Julian Fidge given more time

Lawyers for Julian Fidge argued he didn’t have sufficient time to prepare for complaints. Picture: FAIRFAX

Lawyers for Julian Fidge argued he didn’t have sufficient time to prepare for complaints. Picture: FAIRFAX

FORMER Wangaratta councillor Julian Fidge will face his detractors again at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on August 11 after securing an adjournment on the drawn-out saga yesterday.

VCAT ruled the matter would be reconvened next month after originally setting aside two days for the hearing involving Dr Fidge and former council colleagues Tammy Atkins, Don Joyce, Lisa McInerney and ex-mayor Rozi Parisotto.

Lawyers for Dr Fidge successfully argued he didn’t have sufficient time to prepare for a revised number of complaints only presented on Tuesday.

The deadline for the submission of documents passed more than a month ago.

Dr Fidge is appealing a finding of misconduct against him by a councillor conduct panel when he was a councillor last year.

“I always argued a lot of the complaints were misconceived,” he said.

“It turns out they were so embarrassed by them they didn’t even bring them to the tribunal.

“It is now an acceptance all along I was right.”

He was slapped with the toughest sanction possible from a councillor conduct panel and suspended from public office for two months.

Dr Fidge had been expecting to face 59 complaints at VCAT, but the revised figure was 24.

He is considering taking legal action against either the Municipal Association of Victoria or the state government about how the panel was managed.

“I’ve been pilloried by these people for the past 12 to 18 months,” he said.

“In part because the conduct panel entertained breaches of the Local Government Act which would have seen me jailed for up to five years.”

Dr Fidge also took a swipe at Ms Atkins, Ms McInerney and Mr Joyce.

“I am hoping they will appear this time,” he said.

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