Ms Murray said seeking consent was the “most conservative” approach to avoid subsequent complaints but noted that the council had not done so.
“In this particular instance … we’re not talking about individuals, we’re talking about public figures,” she said.
“They, by the very nature of taking on a public office role, are technically afforded less privacy.
“They definitely should have sought consent from these individuals before going out and saying ‘we’re going to publish a whole bunch of information that’s not actually going to be that useful without the names of these individuals’.
Ms Murray, a former senior official at the Office of the Information Commissioner who previously worked at the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission, said even a member of the public using Right To Information to obtain the names would have a good chance of success.
“The argument would be that there’s a higher public interest in releasing this information than there is in protecting the privacy of these individuals, particularly when they were acting in a public role previously and also given the significant impact of Ipswich City Council and what happened, and the corruption that was shown.”
The council spokesman said Ipswich had approached the Office of the Information Commissioner and was preparing an application for a waiver from privacy rules so that the former councillors could be named.
The spokesman said the council would also write to current councillors asking for permission to name them in documents in the future.
The council would not say whether this would apply retrospectively to councillors Paul Tully and Sheila Ireland, both of whom served on previous councils.
The OIC confirmed it had been approached in June by a private firm, Ground Up Consulting, on the council’s behalf “to make inquiries about the publication of data on the Transparency and Integrity Hub, and possibility of making a waiver application”.
An OIC spokesman said the council had consulted the Privacy Commissioner this month to make inquiries about the process for making an application for a waiver.
The decision to publish the financial information followed a vote at the new council’s first session on April 27. The motion included an agreement to “publish all councillor-related expenses, allowances and reimbursements for each month including contextual details of expenses incurred and purpose to enable benchmarking and comparison”.
All councillors voted in favour except Cr Tully, who abstained and his vote was counted in the negative.
Cr Tully was sacked along with the rest of the previous council by the state government in August 2018 amid a welter of corruption investigations and revelations of a toxic culture within the council.
Former mayors Paul Pisasale and Andrew Antoniolli and two former council chief executives were among 15 people connected to the council charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission with criminal offences. Cr Tully was not among them.
In its report on Ipswich City Council the CCC said it had found “behaviours that create corruption risks” including fear of reprisal, a failure by chief executives to act on evidence of corruption and “the influence of a very dominating senior figure who did not accept challenges to his authority”.
The CCC did not name the senior figure in question.
Cr Tully was a director of companies owned by the council, including those responsible for the redevelopment of the Ipswich CBD, which racked up losses of almost $80 million before it was shut down in 2018.
Mark Solomons is an investigative journalist for Brisbane Times.