Mayor did not pay printing costs, say candidates
CANDIDATES in the 2016 Ipswich local government elections have confirmed that Mayor Paul Pisasale did not pay for the printing of their how-to-vote cards which also featured a recommendation to 'Vote 1 Pisasale' for mayor.
Cr Pisasale appeared on numerous candidates' how-to-vote cards and in some cases, such as Division 6 and Division 10, on both candidates' cards when it was a two-horse race.
Next month's Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) hearing will look into the conduct of candidates at the 2016 local government elections in the Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Gold Coast council.
Deputy Mayor Paul Tully and Cr Kerry Silver have been served notices to appear at the hearing, along with seven other individuals.
Cr Pisasale has not been served notice to appear.
The hearing will investigate, among other things, whether candidates unlawfully "advertised or fundraised for the election as an undeclared group of candidates", an offence contrary to section 183 of the Local Government Electoral Act 2011.
UQ electoral law expert, Professor Graeme Orr, said the former CMC had previously ruled that 'a group' has got to be more than just people who for strategic reasons agree to preference each other or, in the case of councillor candidates, who feature a 'vote 1' for a mayoral candidate.
But he did say if strategic promoting of other candidates on how to vote cards was "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".
Candidates are not required to declare their expenses to the ECQ after elections. For instance, printing costs would not be an item that has to be declared. But candidates are required to declare gifts received or payments from third parties.
The QT asked several current councillors and unsuccessful candidates who featured Cr Pisasale on their how to vote cards. They all confirmed, mostly off the record, that they had paid all their own printing costs.
"I paid for all of my own cards and did no co-funding with anybody," Cr David Pahlke told the QT.
"I get my printing done in Laidley, the same printer I have for the last five elections. Steve Franklin had the mayor on his (how-to-vote) cards as well, and I don't blame him.
"Why wouldn't you put the most popular mayor in Australia on your how-to-vote card?"
Mr Franklin confirmed Cr Pisasale did not pay for his how-to-vote card printing costs.
"I paid for mine," he said.
"I did mine on normal paper and the union helped me print it. All that went in with my declaration (to the ECQ)."
Cr Pisasale, who previously told the QT he did not pay for any how-to-vote card printing for other candidates, said he conducted his campaign by the book.
"With regard to my how to vote cards, in the whole campaign I did everything to the letter of the law as I have explained," he said.
"With regard to the CCC, I am fully co-operating. I have got nothing to hide. I have done nothing wrong. Please, let the CCC do their job."
The QT has learned of one candidate who asked if Cr Pisasale would contribute financially to their printing costs but he declined the offer, while agreeing they could use his picture on their card if they so wished. They declined to do so.