Letter may have breached council law
THE legality of a council letter sent to Rosewood residents in the lead up to the recent Division 10 election is now under investigation by the CEO of Ipswich City Council.
The letter, containing Cr David Pahlke’s name and notifying Rosewood residents of an upcoming $950,000 Flood Mitigation Project, was referred to Ipswich City Council CEO by Division 10 candidate Steve Franklin in the lead up to election day.
Mr Franklin said, although the margin was too wide for him to contest the election result, the letter could have affected the way residents voted.
After hearing Mr Franklin’s concerns about the letter, dated March 10, re-elected Division 10 councillor David Pahlke accused him of “grubby party politics”.
“The CEO of Ipswich City Council told me from the start (the letter) shouldn’t have went out,” Mr Franklin said.
“I feel it had an affect and I feel this vindicates me and shows I wasn’t using “grubby” tactics.”
The law states that a local government must not publish or distribute election material during the caretaker period of the local government.
Election material is defined as anything able to, or intended to influence an elector about voting at an election or affect the result of an election.
Ipswich City Council CEO Jim Lindsay said an investigation into the letter drop was taking place but he couldn’t comment on what the consequences may be for the council employee or councillor held responsible.
“A letter has been sent by council staff and a complaint has been made,” he said.
“My preliminary view is that it may have breached the caretaker provisions.”
Mr Franklin said he didn’t know whether he would run for local council again in four years time.
“My campaign was a clean campaign and I didn’t attack David (Pahlke) at all. I’m proud of my team and I think we ran one of the strongest campaigns in Ipswich,” he said.
“I’ll continue to be a strong and outspoken member of the community.
“Never say never.”