Council election marred by malicious gossip, vandalism

MALICIOUS gossip and vandalised campaign posters.

Citing a high level of smear against candidates at the March elections, the State Government will review how complaints against councillors are managed.

Welcoming the review, Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said although interactions between candidates were largely positive, mudslinging had occurred across the state.

"I think it was common for allegations to be made against candidates by members of the public and other candidates, and I think that's partly due to people using social media to vent concerns and anger," Cr Dobie said.

"My biggest concern is being factual.

"I don't mind being judged for my decisions but I don't want it to be based on hearsay or rumours."

Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg said it was important to haves a fair campaign, but there would always be "argy-bargy" in politics and it was unclear the review could end smearing.

"Having a more transparent campaign process allows you to focus on the issues and commitment of the candidates, and ensures they're kept accountable for their record," Mr Springborg said.

Unsuccessful Southern Downs council candidate Andrew Gale said he was the subject of rumours. Fellow contender Darryl Evans said his signs and others were removed or defaced at the recent election.

"(The rumour) made me feel a bit special because it meant I was a threat, but I welcome any move to reduce (that behaviour)," Mr Gale said. "We shouldn't accept it but it's naive to think it's not part of the process.

"I don't know how they're going to stop it entirely or discipline it."

"(The Southern Downs election) was pretty clean and fair. The signs were just kids being kids," Mr Evans said.

"I know one candidate was slagging off and calling councillors useless on Facebook and he(didn't get elected.

"I just hope everyone settles and gets behind the new council."



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