By Shane Scanlan
Councillors and candidates who ran on the ticket of former lord mayor Robert Doyle have been reprimanded by the Local Government Inspectorate over how they declared their campaign donations.
The inspectorate on October 28 wrote to the “team” of Arron Wood, Beverley Pinder, Hope Wei, Kevin Louey, Nicholas Reece, Sue Stanley, Susan Riley and Tessa Sullivan.
“I am writing to advise you of an assessment of a matter brought to the attention of the Local Government Inspectorate (inspectorate) in early 2018,” the inspectorate wrote.
“This matter related to a declaration by former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle of an additional $40,000 election campaign donation made by him to the candidates that ran in his team.”
On January 8 this year, Mr Doyle advised the council’s governance and legal manager Keith Williamson that he was updating his 2016 election campaign donation return with an extra $40,000 contributed by himself. He asked Mr Williamson to append his letter to the individual returns of his team members.
The inspectorate says there were a number of breaches to the rules.
In the first instance, team members should have done their own returns and not merely signed and submitted a centrally-prepared pro-forma.
They also erred by not resubmitting a revised return when it was known that Mr Doyle had declared a further $40,000 contribution.
However, the inspectorate says the matter is minor and does not warrant a full investigation.
“Our assessment of this matter has indicated that all candidates on the Doyle ticket, including yourself, have not met the requirements to individually disclose the campaign funding,” the inspectorate wrote.
“However, this office does not propose to conduct a full investigation on the basis that the matter raises minimum risk and, even if an offence was to be made out, guidance and education would be the most likely outcome.”
“Accordingly, I can advise that this matter is finalised from our perspective but I do take this opportunity to remind you of the following, should you nominate for the office of councillor in the future:”
“All candidates are responsible for the submission of their own campaign donation information;”
“We caution candidates in submitting group donation returns and recommend all financial accounts be reviewed prior to the submission of campaign donation returns;” and
“Any amendments that are required are individually updated and declared by candidates.”