Mayor Tom Tate has refused to comment on the decision by the Electoral Commission of Queensland to probe the 2016 City of Gold Coast elections.
Councillor Tate isn’t speaking to the media, but in a statement he did say if asked, he would fully cooperate with the ECQ on the matter.
Council CEO Dale Dickson also confirmed it was inappropriate to publicly comment on the matter.
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The ECQ statement concludes that its office will also not make any further comment now the investigation has been announced.
It comes after the ECQ announced on Tuesday it had launched an investigation into the financial campaign activity surrounding the local election.
The Commission will investigate matters in the public interest stemming from public and media enquiries and a referred complaint from the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.
The Electoral Commission has referred this matter to the Crime and Corruption Commission to assist with this investigation.
The Commission is committed to ensuring all participants in a local government election have abided by all obligations as established under the Local Government Electoral Act 2011.
As this is now an active investigation, the Commission will not be commenting further on this matter at this time.
The alarm was first raised by former Gold Coast City Councillor Eddy Sarroff, who has been out of political life since he ran a failed campaign to become Mayor in 2012.
Mr Sarroff ran for the Labrador based seat of Division 4, which was vacated by Margaret Grummit, but he lost to fellow candidate Kristyn Boulton.
But he labelled the election process corrupt. He said candidates “including Kristyn Boulton went to extreme lengths to describe themselves as independents, and in my opinion, misled the voters”.
He went on to say that “during the election campaign, she was asked whether she was bankrolled by the Liberal Party, which she denied”.
“It is of great concern to find out after the election that $30,000 was channelled into her campaign.
“Unless we have a proper investigation, we won’t be able to understand how much money was channelled to the so-called independents and the sources of those funds.
“There’s doubt in my mind that there will be lessons learned from this investigation and hopefully some new regulations surrounding campaign funding and only then can we restore the confidence into the electoral process” Mr Sarroff concluded.