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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Byron candidates asked the hardest question of all

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The question of who is backing Byron Shire Council candidates was originally posed by outgoing Greens councillor Tom Tabart.

At a recent Suffolk Park meet-the-candidates meeting, it was reported from various sources that when he asked mayoral hopeful Diane Woods to reveal who is funding her campaign, she said she didn’t know names but it was ‘around 80 people.’

To be fair to every candidate, Echonetdaily decided to ask all mayoral candidates if they are prepared to say who advises and/or funds them.

Mayoral candidate Morgan has not been asked as she has not spent funds on advertising.

Another mayor hopeful, Jack Sugarman, did not respond by the time of going to press.

Paul Spooner, Community Independents (Group B)
We are running on an election budget of just under $5,000. These funds have been donated to the Community Independents by local individuals who support our community vision and values.
Simon Richardson, The Greens (Group C)
We have a budget from the local group, which was topped up by funds from the Bob Brown gig and proceeds from a raffle and merchandise.

We have received small amounts of donations – about $300 from friends and family and some candidates have loaned the group some funds.

We are backed by the roughly 100 paid-up members; our candidate team and campaign committee create all media copy; our graphic artist is from Goonengerry; all printing is done within the shire and our advisers are experienced ex-councillors and long-term members of the Byron Greens.

However, as I have been a media co-ordinator for a state election campaign previously and have stood as a candidate at both the last local and state elections, I listen to my own advice as well… and of course, that shared from my wife.

Karin Kolbe, Independent (Group E)
My campaign is self funded, and I’ve sought ideas and assistance from many Byron Shire residents, most of whom have already or will be handing out for me.
Sol Ibrahim, Vision In Action (Group D)
My team and I are all making personal contributions to this campaign. We also have dozens of supporters who are prepared to make small financial and in-kind contributions to our campaign. More are coming every day with donations and offers of support.

Our campaign account is managed by a qualified practising accountant. We will comply with the letter of the law in relation to the acceptance and disclosure of campaign contributions.

As you know, the law does not permit donations from companies. Most of our supporters have no interest in becoming involved in politics, but they are fed up with watching the mismanagement of their shire. They have donated to us on the understanding that their privacy will be respected.

Perhaps the problem for some of the other candidates is their unwillingness to accept the level of dissatisfaction there is with the majority voting bloc in our current council.

We contacted some of the other teams to discuss preferences. I found out that they had all preferenced each other and the Greens. Obviously, with the Greens being the leading group in terms of potential votes, the preferencing matrix is designed to once again create a one-sided council. I, and hundreds, if not thousands of residents do not see this as a good thing for quality governance.

While Di Woods’s policies are not all the same as ours, I do not find anything there that I am strongly opposed to, and some that I agree with.

I suspect she feels the same way. Given the above, I felt it prudent to share a preference with her team.

I would like to add that all our policies have been developed by my team alone.

We meet regularly to formulate policy and proposals, which are approved by me before publication. Our advertising art work was all done by Mira Eady, who is on our team.

Basil Cameron, Our Sustainable Future (Group F)
‘I am self funding my campaign and to date have received $1,100 in small donations.’
Diane Woods, Independent (Group A)
As far as donations go, we have complied with the letter of the law and are unable under state legislation to release details until after the election, and if you would like this to change, then speak to Barry O’Farrell about his legislation.


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