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Doyle refuses to reveal cost of mayoral bid

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Royce Millar and Melissa Fyfe

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Doyle keeps mum on campaign costs

Lord mayor Robert Doyle dodges question from the press about the cost of his mayoral bid, promising to disclose his personal spending into the campaign instead.

PT0M0S 620 349

MELBOURNE lord mayor Robert Doyle has refused to disclose how much he is spending on his Town Hall tilt - and who is footing the bill.

Responding to questions triggered by The Age transparency campaign, Cr Doyle yesterday said he was receiving no political party funding for his campaign but refused to rule out backing from developers and corporates.

Of the main teams seeking election, only the lord mayor's Team Doyle has ruled out revealing the source and amount of campaign funding during the election. Age editor-in-chief Andrew Holden has called on candidates to disclose details of their campaign finance as part of a push to improve transparency in the funding of political campaigns.

Lord mayor aspirant David Nolte - like Cr Doyle a Liberal Party member - said his Our Melbourne ticket was happy to open its books to reveal the source of its backing.

He said there were ''real questions'' around transparency and openness in this council election. "The only way people seem to be able to get elected is if they are on one or another of the 'rich' tickets.''

The Greens yesterday declared donations and self-funding of $32,974. Lord mayor hopeful Alison Parkes said: ''Transparency and accountability have been central to our campaign, just as they are a central tenet of my professional work as an accountant. Voters will be wondering why Robert Doyle wants to keep his financial interests a secret.''

Yesterday The Age reported Doyle ticket member Carl Jetter estimating that his team would spend up to $500,000 on the campaign. Voters will start receiving postal ballots today.

The other ticket likely to spend big is the Melbourne Living team of Gary Singer and John So jnr. Mr Singer welcomed the Age campaign and described it as ''positive and laudible. We would be disappointed if other candidates did not take part,'' he said.

Cr Doyle said he would disclose how much he had spent personally on the campaign but only after the postal poll closed on October 26.

Under the Local Government Act, council candidates are required to disclose campaign gifts within 40 days of the poll. ''I can promise you the Victorian Electoral Commission has very precise requirements, very demanding requirements, and I will absolutely meet every element of those requirements, as I did last time,'' Cr Doyle said.

Both the Liberal and Labor parties yesterday refused to reform the disclosure laws. Shadow local government minister Richard Wynne called the present situation ''robust''. Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell said amendments before Parliament would shorten the 40-day post-election wait for disclosure to 14 days. The bill will also require councils to publish donations on their websites. "The proposed changes provide the appropriate level of disclosure," Mrs Powell said.

Cr Doyle, asked if voters had the right to know if political parties, developers or corporations were backing his campaign, said: ''There's no political party backing my campaign.''

Gary Morgan told The Age his campaign with John Elliott would be personally funded. ''I have not accepted a donation from anyone and will not in the future,'' he said.

African-Australian community leader and lord mayor candidate Berhan Ahmed said: ''It's important to be open and clear and transparent … We need to do it.''

With ADAM COOPER

19 comments

  • Are we really surprised Doyle won't disclose his funding before the election.

    That would be the right thing to do and Doyle's only ever talked about transparency, eliminating junkets when he's not a beneficiary.

    When he's a beneficiary it becomes the 'established way of doing things'

    The man's a pompous hypocrite

    Commenter
    FFS
    Date and time
    October 10, 2012, 8:42AM
    • He won't disclose, he has been hoarding his $150,000 a year salary, he is scared he will be dumped and wont be able to keep the wife in high heels. This man is all talk no action, attends lots of functions and bends over to bleet over the constituents. What has he done for the city. NOTHING!

      Commenter
      Pickled Herring
      Location
      Frankston
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 10:04AM
    • He increased parking and fine revenue...

      Commenter
      lolwat
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 12:02PM
    • He is a throw away from the political circuit.
      More inportantly is: WHY are political parties getting involved in council elections.
      WHY are they allowed to even accept donations or funding from special interest groups.
      What ahppened to local government representing the local people?
      If it is going to happen why are we paying for a state government???
      Might as well do away with them and just have federal govet and local government....Imagine how much that would save us!!

      Commenter
      Unbelievable
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 12:28PM
  • Of course it's Doyles friends who are bank-rolling his election costs.
    That's those who stand to benefit from him being elected - ferry drivers, property developers etc. What about the rate payers? Sorry about that - you lot just keep quiet and pay your rates on time. Everything Doyle does and each time he speaks reinforces to me how untrustworthy he is. Please don't vote for him - he is just taking advantage of us.

    Commenter
    JPE
    Location
    North Melb
    Date and time
    October 10, 2012, 8:50AM
    • Does Robert Doyle live in the bounds of the Melb City Council? Do any of the other candidates for this election? I think they should - your thoughts?

      Commenter
      Livinginthe city
      Date and time
      October 10, 2012, 8:52AM
      • As a MCC resident and an active member of our residents committee, its amazing the little oversights the Melbourne City Council allows developers to get away with. They are generally small compliance issues with planning permits that save developers a few thousand dollars here and there. When I bring these issues up with council, it's generally ignored or a "go-slow" on rectifying the issue.

        No doubt election donations are having an influence on this council administration. It is time for a change in leadership.

        Commenter
        zecc
        Location
        SOUTHBANK
        Date and time
        October 10, 2012, 10:06AM
        • Doyle should never have risen to the office of Mayor.In my mind. He does not have the integrity it requires.. He does not adhere to the constitution and he is the servant of multinationals.

          Commenter
          patf
          Date and time
          October 10, 2012, 10:08AM
          • Another Lieberal bully. They are toxic. Don't vote for them if you want a better Australia...

            Commenter
            Sid
            Date and time
            October 10, 2012, 10:14AM
            • ...getting a bit of cash from the scientology sect robert, hm. hopfuly somebody else is taking over his 'job'.

              Commenter
              amicodinessuno
              Location
              bern/melbourne
              Date and time
              October 10, 2012, 10:40AM

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