Brian Stockwell during last election campaign.
Brian Stockwell during last election campaign.

Noosa’s climate of election complaints still brewing

A NOOSA councillor has been found to have no case to answer by the Independent Council Election Observer over a swipe at vested interests wanting to water down the town plan.

Council candidate Karen Cook-Langdon is the latest to lodge an objection with this election integrity watchdog set up by the Local Government Association of Queensland.

The ICEO, retired judge John Robertson, has investigated a screen shot of a newsletter authorised by Cr Brian Stockwell who is standing again.

A statement investigated by the ICEO read: “This election there are vested interests and inexperienced candidates who want to water down our new Noosa Plan. They want to walk away from our community’s goal of carefully managed growth, which is essential to protect our environment and our lifestyle.”

Mr Robertson said Ms Cook-Langdon described the reference to “vested interests” and “inexperienced candidates” variously as “vague”, “generalised” and “inflammatory”.

“She alleged that the newsletter contained fake news.

“Ms Cook-Langdon also alleged that, in referring to the New Noosa Plan, Cr Stockwell was misleading the public, because, as chair of the Noosa Council Planning Committee, he would know that the plan is presently going through state interest checks by the relevant state minister which are not finalised,” Mr Robertson said.

“Ms Cook-Langdon is quite correct when she describes the impugned words as vague and generalised.”

He found Cr Stockwell does not identify any individual candidate as being inexperienced and said nothing about which “vested interests” to which he is referring in the publication.

“The statements made by Cr Stockwell are so vague, generalised and unfocused, as to be incapable of being described as false and/or misleading in terms of the ICEO charter,” Mr Robertson said.

“Whether these allegations can be made out in debate during the campaign is a matter for those who oppose the views expressed by Cr Stockwell.

“The ICEO has decided not to take the matter any further and not refer it to Cr Stockwell for his comment. Ms Cook-Langdon was notified of this outcome.”