Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate‘s election campaign was self-funded. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate‘s election campaign was self-funded. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Rich, cashed-up candidates given unfair advantage

CANDIDATES who run for mayor on the Gold Coast need a "bucket of money" to win, Crime and Corruption Commission investigators were told.

The CCC in its report released yesterday said "wealthy self-funded candidates" like Mayor Tom Tate and those with union and political party backing had an unfair advantage.

An unnamed source said in an interview with CCC investigators: "I think that the scenario we have at the moment is you can only run for the mayoralty if you've got a bucket of money, because you can't afford to run against someone who's got virtually unlimited funds."

An analysis of disclosure data found that for every extra $10,000 that a candidate received, it increased their chance of being elected by 51 to 56 per cent.

The unfair financial competition was created by either wealthy self-funded candidates or those who received significant backing from donors like political groups, developers or unions."Some candidates have significant personal wealth that they can draw on to pay for their election campaigns," the CCC report said.

"A prominent example of this is Mayor Tom Tate, who indicated at the public hearing that he spent over $182,000 of his own money on his 2016 campaign."

The top six candidates across the State who received donations included Moreton Bay Mayor Allan Sutherland ($188,087), former Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale ($221,081) and Logan Mayor Luke Smith ($377,833).

More on this at the Gold Coast Bulletin