Team Eden’s Response to Cairns Post on Car and Call for Contributions

Following questions from the Cairns Post regarding a car provided for campaigning and a call for contributions, below are Team Eden’s responses:

  1. You have been called out on Facebook today about an arrangement between you and Cairns Cars. The person who called you out described this arrangement, a car that you have been driving with Cairns Cars advertising on it, as both a loan and a sponsorship. It has been acknowledged by Cairns Cars that an arrangement exists. The ECQ has said a loan made free of charge would be determined as a gift-in-kind and would need to be declared if it is more than $500. There has been no disclosure on ECQ’s EDS about a gift from Cairns Cars to your campaign. Why has this disclosure not been made? Is it the case the arrangement, if it is a gift, is valued at less than $500? Is it not a gift, but instead electoral expenditure? If your answer is still “check the factsheet”, which ECQ factsheet are you referring to?

Response: Yes, Cairns Cars has provided a vehicle for use during the campaign. We have been advised in writing by Cairns Cars that the value of this gift is an amount less than the value ECQ require to be disclosed and have included this in our internal Election Gifts and Donations register as required in compliance with LG Fact Sheet 8 in relation to Record Keeping Requirements. You will also note that LG Fact Sheet 9 stipulates that “If a person or organisation makes a gift to a candidate, a group of candidates, a registered political party or another third party totalling $500 or more within the disclosure period for the election, the person or organisation must provide a disclosure return to the ECQ within 7 business days.” As the value of the gift is less than $500 we are not required to lodge an ECQ  Electronic Disclosure System return.

Furthermore, in relation to the vehicle wrap, this was paid for by Team Eden and disclosed on the ECQ EDS on 15 December 2023.

  1. I have seen a message sent from your campaign that calls for campaign contributions, which says “contributions below $500 do not go on public record”. If your campaign is all about transparency, why have you emphasised this fact about donation totals that would remain off the public record? If your answer is still “check the factsheet”, which ECQ factsheet are you referring to?

Response: We reject that the subject post came from our campaign. We have no record of this. Having said that, we have used similar wording in approaches to potential donors as many people who would like to support a political campaign, no matter what political persuasion they may be, are reluctant to do so if their names become public information. I am sure you are aware of this. All we are pointing out are the ECQ requirements for disclosure giving donors comfort that if they donate less than $500 this donation does not need to be disclosed on the ECQ website – refer to LG Fact Sheet 9. We still record all donations as part of our internal record keeping requirements in accordance with LG Fact Sheet 8. We are being fully transparent in explaining to people the ECQ rules in relation to gifts and donations.

  1. Can you explain how your promise of transparency to the public is more than lip service?

Response: Amy Eden has an acknowledged track record of transparency during her current term as Division 5 Councillor and her commitment will continue. As the campaign rolls out over the next eight weeks we will reveal a range of policies and actions that will significantly raise the transparency, accountability and engagement outcomes of an Eden-led Council. We look forward to providing you with these details over the coming weeks and sharing these with the broader public.

Finally, we are keen to see a balanced and informative coverage of the 2024 Local Government elections, particularly around the coverage of policies and commitments by all contestants for the future of Cairns.

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