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Councillor denies conflict of interest

Moreton Councillor Peter Flannery has denied a conflict of interest after voting on a matter which involved a donor to a trust that gave money to his campaign.
Moreton Councillor Peter Flannery has denied a conflict of interest after voting on a matter which involved a donor to a trust that gave money to his campaign.

UPDATE:  A SOUTHEAST Queensland councillor denies there was a conflict of interest when he voted on a development application that involved a donor to a trust fund the councillor benefited from.

But Moreton Bay Division 2 councillor Peter Flannery told a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing it would have been different if the developer had donated to him directly.

Cr Flannery said former Queensland LNP MP Joan Sheldon advised councillors at a local government conference to set up an independent trust for donations to keep them at arm's length.

He said the advice given by Ms Sheldon, who is the Local Government Association of Queensland's ethics adviser, was this would put the candidate at "arm's reach" from donations.

"The candidate is not out there touting for funds," Cr Flannery said.

However, a transcript from that local government conference appears to show Ms Sheldon advising to appoint a campaign committee to handle funds. She only mentions a trust when she talks about needing to record loans received from a trust.

Cr Flannery was questioned over a development application that came before council in August last year from Impact Homes.

A disclosure return shows the company donated $3000 to Moreton Futures Trust during last year's election. Cr Flannery declared $3677 from Moreton Futures Trust in his own disclosure return.

Cr Flannery said the money was used for advertising during the campaign.

But he said denied there was a conflict of interest, which is why he failed to declare it during the meeting, because he was an indirect beneficiary of the donation.

"If they'd given the money directly to me, then yes there's a direct conflict of interest," Cr Flannery said. "But it's been given through a trust where who knows...what portions of that funding has gone through to a candidate."

He agreed there may be a perception of a conflict of interest.

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland will appear at the hearing today. Picture: Chris Higgins
Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland will appear at the hearing today. Picture: Chris Higgins

EARLIER: MORETON Bay mayor Allan Sutherland paid to promote the election campaign of an independent candidate, a corruption probe has heard.

Councillor Peter Flannery has told a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing Mr Sutherland approached him on three occasions during the 2016 campaign and offered to pay for joint how-to-vote cards, a billboard and a letter of endorsement.

Mr Flannery said the mayor later gave him a handwritten note stating the total $3677 cost had been paid for by the Moreton Futures Trust, a fund that allegedly allowed property developers to anonymously donate to certain candidates.

 

News Corp Australia

Topics:  allan sutherland crime and corruption commission editors picks moreton futures trust peter flannery


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