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Corruption fighter plans to unseat Deputy Premier

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad will challenged for her inner Brisbane seat by anti-corruption activist and academic Dr Cameron Murray.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad will challenged for her inner Brisbane seat by anti-corruption activist and academic Dr Cameron Murray. Chris Ison ROK300316ctrad3

A VOCAL opponent of systemic government corruption has revealed he will try to unseat the Deputy Premier in the upcoming State Election, as part of a plan to break the cycle of corruption in Queensland.

Dr Cameron Murray was an expert witness in the recent Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into the 2016 local government elections.

The young academic, who has been vocal about property development in Ipswich and spoke at an anti-corruption rally in July, says he will do everything in his power to change the system.

Dr Murray plans to run as an independent candidate in the inner-city seat of South Brisbane where Jackie Trad is already facing an uphill battle to maintain her position, fending off the Greens Party.

While Dr Murray has been vocal about developers associated with the Ipswich City Council, property development is also a major issue in South Brisbane.

Dr Murray says he will stop at nothing to break the cycle of systemic corruption and political favouritism he uncovered while researching for his recent book on the topic.

That major issue was also exposed by the CCC's report into the Operation Belcarra inquiry which labelled councillors' lack of adherence to the rules around electioneering - including declaring donations - as "systemic failure".

Dr Murray spent four years travelling to different communities while researching corruption and political favouritism for his book titled 'Game of Mates'.

DR Cameron Murray, economist and author of Game of Mates.
DR Cameron Murray, economist and author of Game of Mates. Contributed

He says the State Government's announcement it will adopt the CCC's recommendation of banning developer donations won't change the system.

According to Dr Murray, the proposal hasn't been met with opposition because it does not address the heart of the issue affecting property development in Queensland; Queensland council's power to trade development rights over parcels of land, instantly increasing the value, often by millions through rezoning.

Dr Murray's experience, through his research, has shown he's far from the only one who wants to see Queensland's political landscape change.

"So what do we do about it?" Mr Murray says.

"Everything about the game played between political parties and their mates has resonated with everyone.

"If nobody tries a political angle, and puts their hand up to have a go at changing the system from within, then it's going to be very hard to pressure the major parties to change.

"So, I decided that I have the knowledge, experience and maturity to be that person, that alternative people can look to who knows what they want when it comes to attacking corruption.

"I have a plan and this is the start of me to try and pressure the rest of the political community to do something about it."

He said there was an abundance of frustration with the system and the major political parties.

Dr Murray plans to harness that frustration and channel it into creating a new system where corruption can't breed as easily and therefore costs taxpayers less in the long run.

Instead of small groups of people fighting battles against corruption in distant places, Dr Murray wants those frustrated voters to come together.

But he's not naive about what he's up against.

"I am extremely nervous," Dr Murray said.

"I have done a lot of interviews with the media about my book with my research on corruption but I know Queensland politics, like all politics, can be very dirty and taxing.

"I hope I am at the point now where I can deal with that and make a difference."

Dr Murray hopes his political opponents will lash out at him.

"I hope they start picking fights with me," Dr Murray said.

"That will a) provide me with free publicity and b) demonstrate how petty they've become and how keen they are to distract from the issues at play."

Dr Cameron Murray's book 'Game of Mates: How favours bleed the nation' was written in partnership with Paul Frijters.

The book outlines how the political system allows politicians to trade favours which not only give away valuable assets but ultimately costs taxpayers billions in revenue each year. 

Topics:  corruption editors picks ipswich queensland state election 2017


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