Council carries on regardless of CMC attack

By YVONNE McLEAN

THE city council is carrying on the city's business (including the final stage of its 2006-2007 billion dollar budget thought to be the second highest in the nation) determined to put behind it the CMC's damning attack on the alleged way the 2004 election process was corrupted.

The majority have closed ranks behind deputy mayor Cr David Power, allegedly the mastermind (along with late Sue Robbins) of an attempt (allegedly developer funded) to assist like-minded candidates.

Along with Cr Grant Pforr, Cr Power is recommended for prosecution in the findings of CMC chairman, Robert Needham, for submitting misleading information on electoral returns.

Both have been referred to the Crown Law office by Local Government Minister Desley Boyle.

Crown Law will make the decision as to whether prosecutions will proceed.

Most councillors support Mayor Ron Clarke's determination that neither councillor would be stood down while the law takes its course.

Cr Power told the Mail: "I am confident my good name and reputation will be restored when the issue is dealt with in a proper manner rather than in the untested way in which the CMC investigation has taken place.

"The rule of court will ensure that the real truth comes out rather than in a place were issues were not fully tested.

"I have the same confidence that the court will find in all things I have worked for the good of the city."

Cr Power reiterated he had no intention of voluntarily standing down from deputy mayor.

Secrecy, deceit, misinformation, the public's lack of confidence in their council ? were all words and descriptions used by Mr Needham in his finding, after eight long months of the CMC Inquiry into those involved in the conduct of the 2004 election.

But a number of councillors are certain the inquiry has found nothing wrong.

"We have been vindicated," said city planning chair Cr Ted Shepherd.

"The result is an excellent one, we have no corruption or criminal charges to answer, now we (council) must get on with life.

"I have been amazed and encouraged by the big number of phone calls and emails from people in my division nine who have expressed pleasure in the result.

"The media hype needs to stop."

Cr Daphne McDonald said she believed the CMC finding had to a big extent 'cleared the air'. The Local Government Minister has indicated many changes to the present rules governing election procedures.

"One change, requiring candidates to make public their funding sources before an election is a change I have called for over a long time," she said.

"We can't change what's happened, so we have to get on with what we're elected for ? to administer this wonderful city," she said.

Robina-based councillor Jan Grew placed on record her great respect for Crs David Power and Grant Pforr, and the late Sue Robbins.

"When David and Grant get their day in court I am sure they will be cleared of any wrong doing. There is certainly no valid reason for them to stand down."

Cr Christine Robbins described the inquiry as 'codswallop'.

She said no-one in council had done anything wrong in seeking election campaign funds ? most candidates irrespective of what tier of government they contested had to seek finance for costly campaigns.

"I am incensed that my late sisterin-law's name was dragged into it. She has absolutely no affinity with developers, in fact some disliked her. Every election she contested was self-funded. Sue's integrity was of the highest," Cr Robbins said.

Mr Needham exonerated Burleigh's Cr Greg Betts, who was named by counsel assisting the inquiry Robert Mulholland QC in relation to the 2004 controversial election funding.



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