Brisbane's Lord Mayor has been accused of using public money to post ratepayers political advertising dressed up as Christmas cards.
Graham Quirk's political opponents say the LNP mayor has hijacked Christmas to promote himself and that Brisbane ratepayers are footing the bill for thousands of greeting cards.
Labor candidate for the Lord Mayor's job, Rod Harding, says he's no Christmas Grinch, but the cost could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"It's got Graham Quirk's face all over it and he holds the popularly-elected position of Lord Mayor, so it's clearly political advertising and misuse of public money," he told AAP.
The card, which includes a detachable calendar and a fridge magnet, carries a Christmas message from the Lord Mayor, his portrait and the Brisbane City Council logo.
Different versions were posted to LNP- and Labor-held council wards. All featured his face, as did almost 10 million other pieces of marketing material sent to ratepayers in the past 18 months.
"The only way you can stick it on the fridge is to have Graham Quirk looking at you," Mr Harding said.
Under the Brisbane City Council's code of conduct, councillors must "ensure public resources are used prudently and only in the public interest".
Mr Harding said the card splurge is part of a broader increase in spending by the council on political advertising for Mr Quirk and other LNP councillors since the state government banned developer donations to political parties.
Under Queensland law, councils can spend public money on advertising and discretionary items, such as Christmas cards, but it must be of use to the community or provide information to the public.
It's backed by the state's new code of conduct for councils, which requires councillors to manage council resources effectively, efficiently and economically.
University of Queensland Law Professor Graeme Orr says politicians from all levels of government and parties have been using taxpayer funds to produce material that is partisan or self-promotional rather than informational.
"This is part of a long and ongoing problem," he said.
Prof Orr said the card was not an 'efficient' use of resources given most people have mobile phones with calendars and can search quickly for phone numbers.
"As is often the case with government advertising campaigns, its excessive scope reveals its true purpose," he said.
The Brisbane City Council declined to detail the cost of Mr Quirk's cards but says 136,000 were posted to ratepayers and paid for using the Lord Mayor's office communications budget.
"Not everyone has easy access to a computer or smartphone and having a list of handy phone numbers on the fridge can prove convenient and vital in an emergency situation," Mr Quirk said in a statement.
Australian Associated Press