CJC rules on Mooney donation

by Chris Griffith
Published 17 December 1995 in The Sunday Mail


my face


A Criminal Justice Commission investigation in 1993 found the 1989 mayoral by-election campaign of ALP Mundingburra candidate Cr Tony Mooney had not recorded a key donation from a developer of the defunct Magnetic Quays project.

In a letter dated January 18, 1994, the CJC found developer Linkon Pty Ltd had donated $2070 to Cr Mooney's campaign indirectly.

This was despite an initial denial to the CJC by Cr Mooney's then campaign director, Ald Richard Cleal.

The investigation found a money trail involving payment by Linkon Pty Ltd through the company Newtons Pty Ltd to Maidens and Associates to print Cr Mooney's election advertising material.

But the CJC said the donation constituted neither a criminal offence nor official misconduct because there was no requirement in the Local Government Act for it to be recorded.

The CJC letter, marked "strictly private end confidential",was sent to Nelly Bay environmental campaigner Julia Walkden who failed to halt the development in an appeal to the Local Government Court in 1989.

The project was strongly backed by the Townsville City Council, but later fell over following the demise of Victorian-based merchant bank, Tricontinental.

Ms Walkden yesterday said she was given a $45,000 bill for Townsville City Council's legal costs which she was yet to pay.

In its letter, the CJC said: "Mr Mooney stated that although he may have received a campaign donation from the developers. he had very little input into the fund-raising, which was left to his campaign director, Ald Cleal.

"Mr Cleal was interviewed in August 1993 and stated that no donations were received from the developers of Magnetic Quays.

"As a result of further investigations by the commission, he was re-interviewed in October 1993.

"At that stage, he agreed that a donation had been made ... and that the donation had not been recorded."

Ald Cleal told the CJC the donation was not recorded because it constituted payments for advertising material and was not paid into campaign funds directly.

Last night Cr Mooney said Ms Walkden had repeatedly lodged complaints against him to the CJC, the Ombudsman, the Planning Court, the full Supreme Court, and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal -- but all complaints had been dismissed.

He said 94 per cent of Townsville residents wanted the project completed, and there was strong support for development at Nelly Bay among Mundingburra voters.

"I will be complaining strongly on these issues," he said.