Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey is renowned for not holding back on her opinions.
Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey is renowned for not holding back on her opinions.

‘It was the most embarrassing moment of her career’

ACTING Mayor Donna Gates says she is still reeling from the intensity of a bitter clash at a public function with Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey, which she regards as her most embarrassing moment in public life.

Ms Stuckey is playing down the row, which was apparently sparked by a perceived snub in Councillor Gates' remarks in comments made to the media at the opening of a section of the Oceanway.

Ms Stuckey told the Gold Coast Bulletin yesterday the matter sounded like a beat-up and asked if it was a slow news day.

But Cr Gates was adamant the altercation was so heated it ruined her weekend.

The outspoken veteran Currumbin MP confronted the Acting Mayor in front of other people at the public event, annoyed Cr Gates had not acknowledged her in her remarks and telling her she would be dobbing her in to Mayor Tom Tate and highlighting the incident on Facebook.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey had invited Cr Gates to attend a media call for the opening of the new section of the $4 million Oceanway pedestrian and bicycle path between Bilinga and Tugun.

GOLD COAST OCEANWAY BETWEEN BILINGA AND TUGUN OFFICIALLY OPENED

Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey reportedly confronted acting mayor Donna Gates at the official opening to the Tugun-Bilinga Oceanway. Pic: Glenn Barnes.
Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey reportedly confronted acting mayor Donna Gates at the official opening to the Tugun-Bilinga Oceanway. Pic: Glenn Barnes.

Council sources said Cr Gates spoke briefly to Ms Stuckey when she arrived, only for Ms Stuckey to turn on her later for not acknowledging her during comments to the media.

"She tore shreds off her (Cr Gates) for not acknowledging her. She (Cr Gates) did not even know that Ms Stuckey was still there. It was the most embarrassing moment of her career," a council source said.

Contacted by the Gold Coast Bulletin for comment, Cr Gates said: "I wasn't looking for her in the crowd. It wasn't an official function. It was the minister's media call. It just didn't enter my head.

"It was just embarrassing because there were so many people there. She threatened to write to the Mayor and complain about me.

"I said 'Look, I'm really sorry, it was unintentional, I didn't think to acknowledge you, I didn't know you were still here'.

"This was about the delivery of a wonderful new community asset, not about politicians or politics. I just got quite upset for the rest of the day, to be honest."

Acting Mayor Donna Gates who attended the Oceanway press conference. Picture: Jerad Williams
Acting Mayor Donna Gates who attended the Oceanway press conference. Picture: Jerad Williams

Cr Gates said Ms Stuckey threatened to write up the incident on her Facebook page.

"It's that type of behaviour that gives politics a bad name. There is a greater interest in being recognised than acknowledging this fantastic asset that the community will enjoy," Cr Gates said.

But Ms Stuckey denied she made any threats towards the Acting Mayor.

"I was the one embarrassed as we were talking together minutes before the opening," she said.

"As Deputy Mayor, she should know better. I have accepted her apology, end of story.

"There was no threat - sounds like a beat-up. Surely you have some real news, or is it a slow news day?"

Cr Gates said politicians sometimes forgot they were elected representatives able to allocate funds on behalf of the community.

"It's not about getting a pat on the back about it, it's about celebrating that type of delivery,'' she said.

"And it's a shame that members of the community have to see that type of behaviour."

Donna Gates at her northern council division. Photo by Richard Gosling
Donna Gates at her northern council division. Photo by Richard Gosling

It is not the first public outburst involving the Currumbin MP, with Ms Stuckey and federal LNP counterpart Karen Andrews involved in a public dispute at a school in 2014.

Shocked students, teachers and parents of Elanora State School watched as Ms Stuckey and Ms Andrews, who is now Federal Industry, science and Technology Minister, traded verbal blows in a dispute about photographs.