Koby Bunney charged over failing to declare donation in tilt for council

Koby Bunney
Koby Bunney

A former Ballarat council candidate who allegedly did not declare a campaign donation has missed a court appearance due to mental health issues.

Koby Bunney, a prominent LGBT activist, has been charged by the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate with failing to inform Ballarat City Council’s chief executive of the donation within 40 days of election day in October, 2016.

The 36-year-old was listed to appear before the Ballarat Magistrates Court today but did not show up on medical grounds.

The court was told Mr Bunney was experiencing “heightened stress” following a death in his family.

The amount of the donation in question and who it came from was not detailed to the court.

Mr Bunney was unsuccessful in his tilt for council in 2016.

However, all candidates must submit campaign donation returns when they receive gifts or donations of more than $500 - regardless of whether or not they win office.

Candidates who did not submit their returns by December 1, 2016, were given multiple reminders before and after the deadline, according to the Inspectorate.

Mr Bunney was one of 15 candidates who have been has charged for this offence across Victoria.

“Transparency of campaign funding or support is an essential element of the democratic process and failing to do so can carry heavy court-imposed fines,” the Inspectorate said.

In his election pitch, Mr Bunney told The Courier increasing support for Ballarat’s LGBT community was one of his top priorities.

He will return to court next month.