Local councillor Nicole Jonic has opened up about a past brush with the law, posting a statement on the matter to her Facebook profile yesterday.
Representing Ipswich City Council Division 2 – which covers all of Springfield – Cr Jonic revealed she had been charged with offences in her youth related to the drug cannabis.
“As a young woman in my twenties, I was charged with offences related to marijuana,” she said.
Despite not being convicted of any crime, Cr Jonic nevertheless expressed regret about her past choices.
“I regret this choice and the error of judgement I made when I was younger.”
Cannabis is considered an ‘illicit substance’ under Queensland law, therefore any possession, use, or production of marijuana is illegal, save for certain medical exceptions.
Cr Jonic did not provide details about the exact nature of the alleged offences.
An accountant and tax agent, Cr Jonic has lived in Goodna, west of Springfield, since 2011. She and her husband are raising their two children.
She said her past transgressions have shaped her into the person she is today.
“It gave me the drive to work that much harder and to take full advantage of opportunities that have come my way, both personally and professionally,” she explained.
“I will continue to represent my community unashamedly because I am human and I am happy to share my past experiences, the good, the bad and the lessons I have learned along the way.
“I am proud of my achievements and the person I have become.”
Fellow councillors and members of the public echoed those sentiments on social media, with Ipswich Deputy Mayor Jacob Madsen saying her passion for the people she represents cannot be understated and that the community was lucky to have her.
Commenter Darren Hallesy was among those offering support for Cr Jonic, posting: “We were all young once. I did some stupid stuff, but I’m not going to apologise for it — that’s called ‘life’.
“I was 17 then. Now I’m 54. Two very different people. Why are we all supposed to apologise for things we did decades ago? Good on you for posting this, but you have nothing to apologise for.”
Cr Jonic thanked everyone who took the time to share messages of understanding.
According to Ms Jonic, she had received a number of “highly inappropriate” messages threatening to expose the details of her past, prompting her to make the statement. Police are investigating.
“I won’t be intimidated by anyone over this matter,” she said.
“But the power is always in the truth, and I will not be forced to feel shame.”