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Independence of Queensland councillors questioned by CCC

Cameron Atfield reports in the Brisbane Times (29.4.17) on investigations by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission into financial and campaign irregularities during the 2016 local government elections.

‘Independence, it seems, is a virtue at local government level. But just how independent are Queensland’s councillors?

‘That has been the nub of a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing into the 2016 local government elections, which has run over the past two weeks at its headquarters in Fortitude Valley.

‘With the exception of Brisbane City Council, Queensland councils are not officially party-aligned, which means candidates have to find alternative funding sources to run their campaigns. In some of the bigger councils in the south-east corner, the cost of those campaigns can reach six figures.

‘As electoral law expert Professor Graeme Orr told the commission on Friday, independence has a “certain cachet” in the community.

‘But that does not mean candidates are not political. The CCC has heard details of Liberal National Party and Labor Party members running as independents, without any disclosure to voters.’

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