Election blackout wanted



Councillors want a 'silent' week prior to votingTHE Daily News, along with all other media, would be banned from reporting on council election campaigns for a week before election day under a proposal by four minority Tweed Shire councillors.

Councillors Max Boyd, Steve Dale, Barbara Carroll and Dot Holdom have called for the media blackout on election news in a written submission to the public inquiry into the operation of Tweed Shire Council.

The submission, now published and available for public viewing at council libraries, along with nearly 200 others, calls for the blackout plus limits on how much council candidates can spend during a campaign.

"We believe there should be a total blackout on all forms of election advertising, news releases, stories and material in all forms of media at least one week prior to the election day," they have told the inquiry commissioner, Prof Maurice Daly.

They backed their arguments giving examples of what they claim were "tactics used" by the Daily News and by Tweed businessman Bill Bedser who bankrolled a campaign to oust Cr Boyd from the mayoralty in the 1999 election campaign.

They sent Prof Daly clippings of 1999 Daily News stories in which Mr Bedser, before the election, claimed he had a tape recording that revealed a Labor Party smear campaign, and after the election admitted no tape existed.

The clippings sent to Prof. Daly also include a copy of a Page 1 editorial opinion by a former Daily News editor Mark Strong backing a change in council in the 1999 election.

The councillors also called for full details of donations and the names of sponsors of council candidates to be published one month before election day with further donations outlawed.



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