Election signs
Election signs Mark Furler

Councillors behaving badly, blunders from the 2016 election

WEB page shenanigans, false rumours, innuendo and even an attempt to use underpaid labour, this year's local government elections have been a hot-bed for poor political behaviour.

And we've gathered together the best and he worst of it into one place. 


First off on the Fraser Coast incumbent Mayor Gerard O'Connell has had to deny rumours of an affair with his council's chief executive Lisa Desmond. 

Describing the rumours as "disgusting" and "deplorable" Cr O'Connell was compelled to tell the public the claims were false, after a complaint was made to the Electoral Commission of Queensland about the affair.

Meanwhile on the Sunshine Coast a divisional councilor has made exceptional claims against one of his competitors.

Councillor Councillor Christian Dickson says he paid his opponent Mike Doroshenko's internet business - URL Media and Marketing - in June 2014 for the retention of the domain name christiandickson.com.au, which was to be renewed every two years.

However, it's alleged that using a little bit of tech wizardry, Mr Doroshenko apparently diverted the traffic away from his rival's page and back to his own.

Cr Dickson's lawyer, Nambour-based solicitor Peter Boyce, said the redirection had been in place for about 24-48 hours and action had been taken when the issue was brought to Cr Dickson's attention by a member of the public.

In Brisbane the campaign of incumbent Mayor Graham Quirk has been thrown into turmoil by two successive scandals. 

The LNP candidate Ashley Higgins was booted out of the party amidst allegations he sent an explicit image to a teenage boy in 2011.

Then just days later accusations that LNP Councillor Steven Huang was offering to pay foreign students just $50 a day to work on his campaign, were reported by Fairfax media.

"Cr Huang is not offering any payments for electioneering," Team Quirk said in a statement denying the claims.

Indeed it's been a tough campaign for Cr Quirk who has also had to endure being referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission over a land deal between his council and an LNP donor.

He has since been cleared.

This year the CCC actually started the election with its Chairman Alan MacSporran issuing a statement encouraging candidates to run clean campaigns.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk. Facebook

"Regrettably our experience has shown that during election campaigns, some candidates have been known to make allegations to the CCC in the hope of gaining some advantage over rival candidates," Mr MacSporran said.

However, other than the referral relating Cr Quirk the only other false complaint the Commission has thus far spoken on related to Whitsunday Regional Council Deputy Mayor Andrew Willcox.

Information about him was sent to the CCC by the Whitsunday Ratepayers Association.

In a statement issued on Wednesday the CCC said it would not be taking action. 

"In the case of elected officials, the CCC is limited to investigating allegations of corrupt conduct that involve the commission of a criminal offence," the statement read.

"The information provided by the WRA did not raise a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct or identify any possible criminal offence."

Today a CCC spokesman said he could "neither confirm or deny" if any other complaints, about other candidates, had been received.

Crime and Corruption Commission chairman Alan MacSporran speaking about the CCC report into local government transparency and accountability.
Crime and Corruption Commission chairman Alan MacSporran speaking about the CCC report into local government transparency and accountability. Emma McBryde

Of course we probably shouldn't be too surprised there's a spike in vexatious complaints at election time; after all nothing is sacred in politics - a fact proven by the social media hack on Toowoomba Regional Council candidate Diane Warr's Facebook page earlier this month.

Ms Warr was left dumbfounded after a hacker posted sexually explicit photographs on her personal page.

Have you seen something to top this list? If yes, email: lachlan.thompson@apn.com.au