Premier Napthine accused of undue influence
Premier Denis Napthine denies that he interfered with a vote for the council seat of Ballarat after accusations from two Ballarat councillors.PT1M45S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-37w6h 620 349 May 7, 2014
Two Ballarat councillors say they were told during a briefing in November that Premier Denis Napthine wanted a Liberal-aligned mayor to lead the council.
On Tuesday, the same day the state government released its budget, Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight asked Dr Napthine in Parliament if he had sought to directly influence the ballot to ensure a Liberal Party member was elected as mayor of Ballarat.
Ms Knight said City of Ballarat records showed the premier met with outgoing mayor John Burt in Ballarat on November 7, less than a fortnight before the November 19 mayoral poll.
Premier Denis Napthine. Photo: Robin Sharrock
Dr Napthine denied that he had interfered in the vote.
"There certainly has been no involvement," he said.
"I do not ever involve myself in influencing councils as they conduct their elections in terms of mayoral elections."
However two Ballarat councillors have backed claims the vote was interfered with.
Councillor John Philips said he was one of four councillors invited to a briefing by the then mayor Cr Burt on November 13.
"I was invited to be briefed by the mayor ... to say the premier had asked for a Liberal mayor to be put in and to ensure council would continue to get funding from government," he said.
"That surprised me greatly."