There sure is a wealth of nuggets of information in the campaign donations and expense returns. Check out our previous post for a good overview.
There are plenty of rules around what you can and can’t do. One very important rule is around donations – you have to declare any donations you receive that are over $1,500 (including smaller donations from the same source that are over $1,500 when aggregated up). See part 5 of the Local Electoral Act for the full rules.
During the campaign it was reasonably well known that the Green Party had given somewhere in the region of $5,000 to all of their candidates in the election – there were a few other candidates who were pretty jealous of the fact, particularly after people like David Lee started bragging about it.
Good on Sarah Free for doing the legal thing and declaring a total of eight donations from the Green Party to a combined total of $4880.14 (one of the individual donations – $1916.46 was above the donation threshold on its own!)
However, that then leaves us with a very interesting question – what about the other candidates? David Lee and Iona Pannett both filed in donations returns without mentioning their Green Party donations. Did they not get any, or did they file a false return?
Given the hot water that John Banks has found himself in for not properly declaring donations towards an election he didn’t even win – it’s hard to see how Lee and Pannett will get through this if they have indeed filed false returns. Can we expect two by-elections very soon?
Update: Both of the Green regional council candidates declared large donations from their head office, with Sue Kedgeley getting $4657 and Paul Bruce getting $4393. It is really starting to look like Lee and Pannett have filed false returns.