GC mayor to face Qld elections probe

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate is among the latest inclusions to be summoned to give evidence at a public hearing into allegations of misconduct during last year’s Queensland council elections.


Tate, along with Gold Coast City Councillors Donna Gates and Cameron Caldwell, will give evidence at the Crime and Corruption Commission’s hearing into alleged misconduct during last year’s Gold Coast, Moreton Bay and Ipswich council elections.

Tate will face the hearing on Wednesday, April 26.

His addition to the witness list means the mayors of all three councils under the microscope will give evidence, with Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale and Moreton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland having already been summoned.

Former Turnbull government minister Stuart Robert will give his evidence on the opening day of the hearing on April 18 along with former Tony Abbott adviser and lobbyist Simone Holzapfel.

The corruption watchdog launched an investigation last year after the Gold Coast, Moreton Bay and Ipswich council elections.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland received a string of complaints about improper financial dealings during the campaigns.

They included concerns from the Queensland government over donations from Mr Robert’s Liberal National Party branch’s fundraising arm on the Gold Coast.

The Fadden Forum donated $30,000 each to former staffers Kristyn Boulton and Felicity Stevenson, who both stood as independents.

Ms Boulton, who was re-elected to the Gold Coast council on March 19, and Ms Stevenson have both been called to give evidence at the hearing.

Local government candidates in Queensland risk heavy fines if they don’t declare themselves as being either independent, belonging to a group or political party.

Independent candidates are not allowed to work or fundraise together during an election campaign.

But the CCC investigation and hearing will aim to uncover whether candidates standing in the three local government elections advertised or fundraised as an “undeclared group of candidates”.

Gold Coast-based MP Mr Robert, a former veterans affairs and human services minister, was forced to resign in February 2016 after he breached ministerial standards.

The MP took a personal trip to China in 2014 with a friend and Liberal Party donor, where he witnessed the signing of a mining deal and held discussions with government officials.

The CCC hearing will be held from April 18 to 21 and April 26 to 28.