News

Pisasale up first at CCC public hearing today

 

AN UPSURGE in complaints about the conduct of candidates at the 2016 local government elections was noted by Queensland Electoral Commissioner Walter van der Merwe on the opening day of the Crime and Corruption Committee public hearing yesterday.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Cr Kerry Silver and Deputy Mayor Paul Tully will appear today while Cr Kylie Stoneman and Blair MP Shayne Neumann will front the hearing on Friday.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale is cleared of criminal charges by the Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale is cleared of criminal charges by the Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times David Nielsen

"Compared to the 2012 (election) I believe the level of complaints were significantly higher," Mr van der Merwe said yesterday when questioned by council assisting the CCC inquiry Glen Rice, QC.

Those complaints were made about alleged funding and disclosure matters and how-to-vote cards they believe shouldn't have been used."

Blair MP Shayne Neumann will front the hearing on Friday,
Blair MP Shayne Neumann will front the hearing on Friday, Contributed

The thrust of Mr Rice's questions to the Ipswich public figures will be revealed today but the QT understands it will include the issue of "undeclared groups", based on the CCC's stated areas of investigation into the 2016 local government elections and on complaints made to this paper from unsuccessful candidates at the last election and statements made on their campaign social media sites. At least two of those candidates claim to have made submissions to the CCC.

Mr Rice said yesterday that "some candidates engaged in behaviours that were interpreted by others as evidence of the candidates campaigning as part of an unregistered or undeclared group".

Cr Paul Tully will also front the hearing today,
Cr Paul Tully will also front the hearing today, Contributed

"These behaviours included receiving campaign donations from the same source, using the same campaign resources... whether it be campaign managers or volunteers to hand out how-to-vote cards... issuing joint how-to-vote cards with other candidates, advertising alongside other candidates - for example on billboards - or having close personal and professional connections to other candidates."

"Some candidates who ran as independents were perceived to have been aligned with a major political party without appropriate transparency of any such alignment.

"These perceptions were based on behaviours such as candidates receiving donations from the party or its members, having worked for one of the party's members of parliament, being current or former members of the party, using party volunteers to hand out how-to-vote cards on polling days and distributing how-to-vote cards that contained the party's branding - for examples colours and logo or part of the party's name.

Mr Rice said "some candidates received a substantial amount of their campaign funding from property and construction companies, giving rise to concerns about real or perceived conflicts for councillors".

The QT understands the above areas will be lines of questioning asked of the Ipswich public figures.

Many candidates appeared on joint how-to-vote cards with Cr Pisasale at the top of the list.

The University of Queensland's Professor Graeme Orr weighed in on the hearing.
The University of Queensland's Professor Graeme Orr weighed in on the hearing.

UQ's Professor Graeme Orr, an expert in electoral law, earlier told the QT that "candidates X and Z recommending you vote for Mayor Pisasale is not evidence of a group and the CMC has already made that point".

"If the how-to-vote cards were the tip of a larger iceberg and people were meeting and co-ordinating behind the scenes, sharing monetary resources and discussing the potential of working as a voting block that would take you over the edge," he said.

"If you advertise as independents, but you are running effectively behind the scenes as a group, that can be an offence."

The last Ipswich local government election was the most vitriolic in memory with accusations flying thick and fast of corrupt behaviour from certain quarters.

In December the CCC recommended the government consider making it an offence for any person to publicise allegations of corrupt conduct against a councillor or candidate during a local government election period, without first notifying the CCC and allowing at least three months to find whether the allegations have merit.

Mayor Pisasale said he looked forward to attending the hearing today.
Mayor Pisasale said he looked forward to attending the hearing today. Rob Williams

Cr Pisasale said he was looking forward to his appearance today at the hearing and that he would back any legislation to stop candidates conducting smear campaigns during elections.

"I am very happy to appear and I think it is absolutely fantastic this is happening to clear up all the innuendo and cloud that hangs over this city due to failed candidates," he said.

"I am sick and tired of the lack of strong legislation to protect good candidates from people with axes to grind.

"I want to make sure that legislation protects candidates and their families.

"I ran my election as a fair independent and we ran our campaign straight down the line with a great crew of volunteers behind me."

Topics:  ccc editors picks hearing paul pisasale


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

$348m worth of work up for grabs at RAAF Amberley build

The EA-18G Growler, an airborne electronic attack aircraft, is capable of providing force level electronic warfare support.

Calling all painters, cleaners, bird proofers and 38 other trades

Woolworths, Coles, Aldi: Why it pays to check docket

Do you know about your supermarket's 'freebie policy'?

RACEWAY ROW: Ipswich Council accused of threats, bullying

Queensland Racing has accused Ipswich City Council of intimidation and bullying in an “self-aggrandising” attempt to take control of Willowbank Raceway.

The council was told the raceway was not for sale.

Local Partners

OPINION: Bachelor really crossed the line

Leah’s abrupt Bachelor exit is slut-shaming at its worst.

Marvel stars tease superhero epic

The four year wait for Marvel's The Defenders is over.

The Defenders stars on their long-awaited superhero team-up.

The two stars who intimidated Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth was intimidated by two other Hollywood stars.

Thor star says he was ‘weirdly shaken’ when he met two other actors.

Sam Newman: How a Playboy magazine changed everything

The new crew of The Footy Show.Source:Supplied

How a Playboy magazine changed everything.

Leah slams Matty: ‘I was incredibly disappointed’

Leah says she was ‘incredible disappointed’ with Matty J.

BACHELOR evictee's controversial chat with Kyle and Jackie O.

John Eales finds peace with the haka

Inia Maxwell and John Eales in a scene from the documentary John Eales Reveals: The Haka.

Rugby legend is on a quest to learn about a sacred Maori tradition/

The Bachelor recap: Secret pasts publicly exposed

Matty J is left speechless on The Bachelor.

TWO Bachelor contestants’ secret adult pasts have been exposed.

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

How we got a rental straight away on the Coast

Rita and David Allara, moved down from Townsville, paid three months up front rent to secure the place at flash new unit block in Kings Beach.

Genius move helps secure rental property

Developer tears up couple's contract for new home

Jade and Edward Roberts were stung by the sunset clause on the first day of their honeymoon.

The developer has the right to do this under the sunset clause

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!