Do we laugh or do we cry?

THE Tweed Shire Council's story could almost be a fairytale.

A tale of a goose that lays a golden egg which allows pro-development councillors to get a seat in council chambers, with no obligations to repay mother hen.

That is the story that Tweed Shire councillors have presented to the inquiry into the governance of the council over the past three days.

Those expecting massive bombshells during these opening stages have been sorely disappointed by a raft of councillors who have lulled some spectators to sleep with their boring and predictable diatribes.

A majority of councillors have charted a course which has painted them as ignorant candidates asking no questions of the buckets of cash arriving in their bank accounts from Tweed Directions during the 2004 elections.

"I didn't want to know (where the money was coming from)," said Cr Gavin Lawrie.

"In the same way as a lawyer, I don't want to ask a client 'did you murder your wife'?"

Much to the delight of more than a dozen local residents who have gathered each day to watch the proceedings, some councillors have shown if they are dismissed they are hoping for a career in comedy.

Known for her pearls of wisdom, Cr Dot Holdom did not disappoint when she told commissioner Maurice Daly she was still in nappies as a councillor and owed her husband money for her election campaign.

Cr John Murray contributed to the laugh-fest when he was asked by inquiry officers why Tweed Directions would choose him to donate $23,000 to.

"Well I'm a pretty impressive sort of bloke, there must have been something there," he replied tongue-in-cheek (we think).

But proceedings quickly turned serious when Cr Bob Brinsmead began to give evidence yesterday.

Related to Tweed Coast developers, Cr Brinsmead was expected to unleash the "fire and Brinsmead" attitude he has towards perceived conflicts of interests.

Unfortunately little came out of the line of questioning directed at him, leaving Tweed businessman Bill Bedser to surprise everyone with his ironic complaint against Tweed Directions and diatribe against the media.

"They are a large reason why this (inquiry) is on.

"It is unfortunate there are so many perceptions that exist of what is going on in council," Mr Bedser said.

His comments echoed a concern of several councillors that there was the community perception of corruption in the current council.

Throughout the week commissioner Daly has moved quickly to quash these rumours, stating that the inquiry was not looking for corruption but at the council's governance.

Sessions in the inquiry are expected to heat up next week with the evidence of Tweed Directions directors Graeme Staerk and Allan Blundell and developer Paul Brinsmead.

Until then, this is one reporter glad to get a few days reprieve from the often monotonous battle to assert the Tweed Shire Council's effectiveness.

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