Deputy Mayor Charlton tells CCC his links to election donors

19th April 2017 2:45 PM
MAYOR ELECT: Allan Sutherland has been relected as MBRC mayor.Photo Rachel Lang / Caboolture News Mayor Allan Sutherland (pictured) will face the CCC on Friday. Rachel Lang

UPDATE: 6:10pm

DEPUTY Mayor Mike Charlton has told the state corruption watchdog his deep connections to the Moreton Bay Futures Trust's formation and current trustees, but has not been involved since the 2012 elections.

Cr Charlton was the first of six witnesses called from Moreton Bay Region by the Crime and Corruption Commission as it investigates candidate conduct at the 2016 local elections.

The public hearing is part of Operation Belcarra and includes the Gold Coast and Ipswich City Councils.

Alan Macsporran is the presiding officer of the hearing and Glen Rice is counsel assisting.

Moreton Bay Future's Trust was Mayor Allan Sutherland's biggest political donor during the previous two local elections and Cr Charlton was the beneficiary of $5000 worth of donations during his 2012 campaign.

Cr Charlton told the hearing he was a part of the trust's formation in the years leading up to that election.

"I was part of the discussion and formation of the trust," he said.

"It was set up as a vehicle to raise funds to fund election campaigns for candidates as determined by the trustee as I understand it.

"And then there was a change in legislation and trustees and I determined not to have any active role from … early 2012 and before the 2012 election."

The Moreton Bay Futures Trust trustees Dr John Alexander Ryan and Kirby James Leeke will face the CCC tomorrow.

Cr Charlton told the hearing he had ties of up to 40 years with those men.

"I've known Kirby for a long time through family associations and association with the Masonic Lodge; probably close to 35 or 40 years," he said.

"Kirby's father, Malcolm Leeke, was the accountant for Better Stores and my father-in-law … was one of the founders.

"Dr John Ryan has been my personal physician for quite some years, practising in Albany Creek where I've lived since 1980 and is also mutual friend of Bryan Galvin."

Mr Galvin is a former councillor and deputy mayor of council who shared resources with Cr Charlton during the 2008 local elections.

Other lines of questioning were the Mr Sutherland's endorsement of Cr Charlton and the sharing how-to-vote cards and billboards during the 2016 election campaign.

Cr Charlton agreed Mr Rice's line of question that said both he and Mayor Sutherland's joint how-to-vote cards declared themselves as 'independent candidates'.

Both cards were similar in font and layout and displayed the slogan 'for a bright future'.

Mr Rice then presented a tax invoice from Bishop Advertising for a billboard that Cr Charlton and Mr Sutherland and Division 8 councillor Mick Gillam shared.

A second billboard that didn't feature Cr Charlton was invoiced to Mr Sutherland and Cr Charlton.

The hearing commences tomorrow at 10am with Mr Ryan, followed by Moreton Bay Region town planner Tim Connolly and Mr Leeke.

Mr Sutherland is set to face questions on Friday.

It will be live streamed at http://www.ccc.qld.gov.au/corruption/operation-belcarra-public-hearing/operation-belcarra-public-hearings.

The hearing breaks for the weekend and recommences from April 26-28.

EARLIER

Moreton Bay Regional Council Deputy Mayor Mike Charlton is currently facing questions from Queensland's corruption watchdog as it investigates conduct of candidates at the 2016 local elections.

Mr Charlton is the first of six witnesses called by the Crime and Conduct Commission as a part of Operation Belcarra's public hearing into the Moreton Bay Region, Gold Coast and Ipswich City councils.

The hearing began yesterday and will conclude on April 28.

The line of questioning is about whether Mr Charlton campaigned with an undeclared group of candidates and Mayor Allan Sutherland's endorsement.

Mr Sutherland is due to face the CCC on Friday.