LIBERAL Party powerbroker Noel Coxall has hit back at allegations of Ballarat City councillor bloc voting over a new mayor and the chief executive officer’s contract.
Mr Coxall said allegations raised yesterday on radio by an unnamed senior Labor Party member were “a load of rot”.
“It’s just Labor Party rattling and scratching,” Mr Coxall said.
The allegations stem from a meeting at the Red Lion Hotel on July 22 in which Mr Coxall canvassed suitable candidates for last weekend’s local government election.
Several of the newly elected councillors were at that meeting, though Cr Vicki Coltman said yesterday she was not.
Mr Coxall said a list of possible candidates was collated, with councillors John Burt, Joshua Morris, Peter Innes and Cr Coltman included.
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Several unsuccessful candidates were also on the list, which Mr Coxall said was legal and above board.
Mr Coxall said allegations Liberal Party sympathisers had given each candidate a campaign donation just under the $500 limit that needed to be declared or that they had to vote the same on the new mayor and the renewal of CEO Anthony Schinck’s contract was also wrong.
“There was no Liberal Party money, there is no bloc.
“There were some people on that list with strong ties to the Labor Party.
“We were just trying to find good quality candidates to represent the city. A lot of them had no connections to the Liberal Party, it’s just a load of rot.
“I didn’t care what party they were involved with. I didn’t care if they were a Collingwood or a Geelong supporter. I just wanted good, quality candidates.”
Mr Coxall said he had just hoped to get council candidates with commonsense.
“There are no set agendas, it’s an absolute beat-up.”
Mr Coxall said people had donated money to the candidates but he didn’t know who or how much.
“If it’s over $500 they will have to declare it. If it’s under $500 they don’t. That will sort out who’s who in the zoo.”
When contacted yesterday, Cr Coltman said she had completely funded her own campaign.
“I don’t know how many times I have to say it. I paid for everything myself,” Cr Coltman said.
Cr Innes also said he found it insulting to be called a Liberal Party sympathiser or to suggest he wouldn’t vote independently.
“This is inappropriate, mischief making,” Cr Innes said.
“It’s a slur on my character and I’m really staggered by it.”
Cr Burt said the only support he received was from family and friends.
“End of story,” Cr Burt said.
Cr Morris was unavailable for comment yesterday.