Noosa is preparing to vote - but who is stumping up the cash for the candidates' campaigns?
Noosa is preparing to vote - but who is stumping up the cash for the candidates' campaigns?

Mayoral challenger attracts $5000 donor cash splash

THERE has been a $5000 vote of confidence in Noosa mayoral candidate Clare Stewart by a persistent supporter.

Donor Kirsty Miller must be hoping it will be three times lucky after her latest contribution to Ms Stewart registered with the Electoral Commission Queensland on March 9. This follows two previous donations of $1900 to Ms Stewart's campaign.

Ms Stewart's donation tally now jumps to $12,8000 declared on the ECQ disclosure website.

Since then, perhaps in this growing climate of uncertainty leading to the declaration of a coronavirus pandemic, donations for all candidates, going by the ECQ register, have dried up.

As of this morning there had been no further donations for Mayor Tony Wellington who has a $14,500 "war chest", according to the ECQ. The mayor's last listed donation was on March 3 of $500 made by Jennifer West. 

This follows on from a healthy surge in financial support for the Future Noosa group of three councillor candidates according to the donor register.

The group -- Karen Finzel, David Fletcher and Andrew Squires -- has received a $5000 donation from high profile Noosa real estate agent Peter Butt on March 5, $1000 from Nicki Louise White on March 4 and a $616 donation from Jane Parviainen of $616 on March 9.

This takes the Future Noosa tally to $20,367. When contacted by the Noosa News, Mr Butt said it would be healthy for Noosa to see a real contest at the March 28 election.

And the ECQ also shows collective pledges of $13,751 to Future Noosa, for the three candidates standing under that group banner, Karen Finzel, David Fletcher and Andrew Squires.

And the biggest donation listed that has any connection to a Noosa candidate is a $20,000 splash-out on the Animal Justice Party, which has Snezana Redford running for a seat on council locally.

The cashed-up supporter is listed as Raymond Ison and there is a further $1000 donation to the AJP taking its tally to $21,000.

Cr Wellington's biggest supporters appear to be well-heeled conservationists with David Thomas (The Thomas Foundation) chipping in $5000 and Keith Ince $2000, while long-time pro-environment lawyer Bob Cartwright making a $2000 donation on January 12.

The Thomas Foundation is a major financer of the Bring Back the Fish project, while Keith Ince is chair of the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network.

The office of the AEGN has confirmed that he had made this donation.

Former candidates for the Greens, Joy Ringrose, is also listed as giving $2000 in two donations, but she said she believes one of these donations was actually from her sister, Helen.

The mayor's wife Judith Ditter has also contributed $1000.

Cr Wellington said his election donors hail from "a range of backgrounds".

"If there is an emphasis on people with environmental interests, then that is simply an endorsement of my actions to protect Noosa's natural environment and enhance local biodiversity," the mayor said.

"When it comes to decisions on the council, I will not be influenced in any way by individual election donors.

"Under legislation, I will need to declare a conflict of interests in any matter that comes before council in which my donors have a connection," he said.

Cr Wellington said he was not a member of any political party and "I am not a member of any community organisation".

Ms Stewart's biggest contributor to her campaign to date is Creekgold Pty Ltd with $2000. This is the company which owns and operates the Cooroy and Pomona IGAs.

She said she has been "fortunate to receive support for my mayoral campaign through a number of donations which are all disclosed and updated in real time on the Electoral Commission of Queensland website".

"However, as you can see the majority of my campaign is funded by me personally and the outlay is significant due to the substantial costs involved," Ms Stewart said.

"That personal commitment is due to my continued belief that Noosa deserves a real voice and a council that acts on behalf of this community.

"Regardless of who contributes to my campaign, I have clearly stood for and continue to stand on a promise to this community of openness, accountability and transparency," she said.

She said no individuals and no entities could or would influence "my leadership or decision-making on Noosa Council".

Future Noosa has received a $4000 donation from Keith Jackson, a further $2000 from Ray White Commercial Noosa and $1000 from real estate company Noosa4Sale Pty Ltd.

FN candidate Mr Fletcher said this overall listing was "a requirement as a group through ECQ".

"It's not a registered party. The requirement through local government is that you can run as a group for campaigning purposes only," Mr Fletcher said.

"That's why we're running as Future Noosa. We're independents as well … as soon as the election day comes, the Future Noosa group goes."

He said this was a case of "like-minded individuals" pooling their resources because electioneering was expensive.

Mr Fletcher said the corporate donations, which he had been unaware of, was a case of people liking "what we stand for and who we are as individuals".

* Footnote: A $2000 donation by Bob Cartwright is listed on February 15 for $2000. Mr Cartwright and Cr Wellington said only one donation has been made and the ECQ has since removed the listing duplication from its register.

Tony Wellington:

Mar 3 Jennifer West $500

Feb 29 Helen Ringrose $1000

Jan 13 David Thomas of the Thomas Foundation $5000

Jan 13 Keith Ince $2000

Jan 12 R.J & KV Cartwright $2000

Jan 10 Gail Spira $1000

Decr 12 Judith Ditter $1000

Dec 10 Helen Ringrose $1000

Dec 10 Joy Ringrose $1000

Clare Stewart:

Mar 9 Kirsty Miller $5000

Feb 27 Kirsty Miller $1900

Feb 25 Kirsty Miller $1900

Feb 21 Ken Morrison $1000

Feb 20 Prudence Mae Blake $500

Feb 19 Michael Massoud $500

Feb 18 Creekgold Pty Ltd $2000 (company run by the owners of Cooroy IGA) $2000

Future Noosa:

Mar 9 Jane Parviainen $616

Mar 5 Peter Butt $5000

Mar 4 Nicki Louise White $1000

Feb 18 Keith Jackson $4000

Feb 18 Pamela Jane Sweetapple $1100

Feb 13 Pamela Jane Sweetapple $499.99

Feb 11 Noosa4Sale Pty Ltd $1000 (real estate company)

Feb 3 Ian Pratt $2500

Jan 31 Jane Parviainen $671

Jan 31 Pamela Sweetapple $1980

Jan 21 Ray White Commercial Noosa & Sunshine Coast North $2000

Animal Justice Party:

Feb 19 Raymond Ison $20,000

Feb 3 Lindon Cox $1000

Frank Wilkie:

Jan 10 Gail Spira $1000

Jan 10 John Rorke $1000

Jan 9 Susan Francis $750

Brian Stockwell:

Jan 7 Susan Francis $500

Tom Wegener:

Feb 24 Alan Maguire $499

Feb 15 Bruce Mconkey $498

Feb 15 Tom Wegener $9

Meghan Halverson:

Feb 27 Wendy Ann Kennedy $1000

Feb 26 Wendy Ann Kennedy $477

Feb 26 Paul Coffey $477

Headlines