The following is a joint media release from the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ), the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA), the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) and the Queensland Integrity Commissioner.
With the local government election now in full swing, four of Queensland’s peak integrity agencies have joined forces to make sure everyone plays by the rules.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ), the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA), the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) and the Queensland Integrity Commissioner will be closely monitoring the election to ensure all relevant laws are adhered to during this important time.
Queensland’s Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said the four agencies had adopted a group mantra of making 2020 fair for all.
“We’re working together to ensure the elections are conducted honestly, transparently and fairly for all involved,” Mr Vidgen said.
“In particular, both candidates and donors must be sure to disclose their donations via the ECQ website so voters have that information, and election advertising can’t make statements of fact that simply aren’t true or mislead people about how to cast a valid vote.”
The Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian said the recent focus on integrity in local government extended to the election.
"Local people representing their local community is a vital part of our democratic system and deciding to nominate for council is a great thing” Ms Florian said.
“I’d encourage all candidates to run a positive race focused on the local issues that are of greatest importance to your community”
“Be ready for the downside of social media and don’t be drawn into negativity – it can be a big distraction from who you are and what you represent”.
CCC Chairperson Alan MacSporran QC warned candidates not to risk their campaigns by making false complaints about their rivals.
“Complaints systems should not be misused during elections to score political points - supplying false information or making a complaint that’s vexatious can attract stiff penalties,” Mr MacSporran said.
“It is always the preference for complaints to be made confidentially so assessments and investigations can proceed without allegations being aired publicly.
“It is important to remember any allegation should be treated as unsubstantiated until a final outcome is reached.
“Candidates can quickly derail their own campaigns by engaging in public commentary about allegations or by making false complaints so our collective advice is for candidates to stick to the rules and 2020 can be fair for all.”
Queensland’s Integrity Commissioner Nikola Stepanov said the four agencies would be available to provide guidance where they could.
“Ultimately, it is up to each candidate to be aware of their legal obligations and to play by the rules,” Dr Stepanov said.
“But our doors are open should anyone need some help navigating the campaign trail.”
Crime and Corruption Commission: [email protected] 07 3360 6000
Electoral Commission of Queensland: [email protected] 0438 120 699
Office of the Independent Assessor: [email protected] 0477 385727
Queensland Integrity Commissioner: [email protected]
On 4 March 2020, CCC Chairperson Mr Alan MacSporran QC, Electoral Commissioner of Queensland Mr Pat Vidgen and Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian from the Office of the Independent Assessor held a joint press conference at the ECQ's office to discuss the 2020 local government elections. Please contact the relevant agencies for further information.