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Aug 13, 2008

Crook NSW coastal candidates

Nominations for the NSW local government elections closed at midday today with a major shock for voters in the Tweed Shire Council on the border between NSW and Queensland, writes Alex Mitchell.

Nominations for the NSW local government elections closed at midday today with a major shock for voters in the Tweed Shire Council on the border between NSW and Queensland.

Former mayor Warren Polglase who was dismissed from office in May 2005 is standing again as head of a team of pro-development candidates.

Polglase, a staunch National, made headlines at the last council election four years ago when he and associates were supported by a phantom outfit called Tweed Directions which had a $600,000 war chest provided by developers.

A subsequent government inquiry, headed by Professor Maurice Daly, found that the developers had hijacked the election and all the councillors, including Polgase, were sacked and replaced by three administrators.

None of the sacked councillors were ever charged with any offence; nor were they disbarred from standing again.

Today’s front page of the Tweed Daily News carried a color photo of Polglase and the extraordinary headline: “Sacked mayor back in mix — Warren Polglase wants to curb development on new council.”

The idea that Polglase, if elected, will “curb development” has the whole of the shire rolling around laughing.

Of all the council election contests across NSW on September 13, the Tweed Shire will be a flashpoint because it will be a bitter struggle between the development lobby and the greens/independents. (In keeping with its current electoral low profile, Labor isn’t standing).

Tweed Shire, just over the border from the Gold Coast, has become the hunting ground for developers who want to make a quick killing from coastal and hinterland real estate.

Pressure is constantly being exerted to free up land for development and to rezone existing rural or farming locations for residential and commercial development. Such is the value of pristine Tweed Valley land, that literally billions of dollars are at stake.

Meanwhile, South Sydney star footballer Craig Wing is standing for the No Parking Meters Party at the forthcoming election and giving his critical preferences to veteran Randwick Council independent, Charles Matthews. In 1995 the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) made an adverse finding against Matthews following an investigation of the council’s planning practices but he was never prosecuted and he eventually cleared his name.

Wing, a popular league legend, may use next month’s council elections to prepare for a run at the state seat of Maroubra in 2011. The seat is currently held by notorious right-winger Michael Daley who took the electorate when Bob Carr retired as premier in 2005 to join Macquarie Bank.

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One thought on “Crook NSW coastal candidates

  1. Tom McLoughlin

    Sydney Town Hall, Randwick, Sutherland and as you say Tweed Heads will all be developer/election related stories I reckon. I’ve been keeping a pile of clips in preparation and one theme that stands out is Jack Mundey condemning the most recent bogus pump priming of the economy via land/money politics aka Sartar planning reforms.

    Mundey – famous for pioneering Green Bans – is now a proud lefty of the Green Party in NSW alongside good mates Lee Rhiannon MP and former senator Kerry Nettle. Which doesn’t bode well for Meredith Burgmann as the ALP Left candidate versus Clover Moore as Independent at Town Hall. Meredith has been making those retro ‘I did a Phd on over development in the 1970ies’ exhortations. But it sounds bit lame when Clover is putting out glossing flyers with equally or more impressive retro credentials to the 1970ies AND Mr Green Bans himself both think Meredith is playing for the wrong team.

    Then there is the overall cynicism with inner city ALP corruption and nepotism – my ‘favourite’ is co author of a Burgmann book who got a job last year at the very large Addison Rd Community Centre in Marrickville without having to do any competitive job application process. This is the ALP Left mates network for all to see that Burgmann, Barry Cotter, Albanese are regularly accused of by their rivals here.

    And that’s the risk of corruption if the ALP gets hold of the big budget at City Hall. No different to the concerns in the election in 2004 when Clover was a shoe in.