22.6 C
Byron Shire
November 27, 2021

Greens cry foul over nursing-home lockout

Latest News

COVID update: a new Byron case, Aquarius and Community Support Accommodation

The Northern NSW Local Health District says there was one new case of COVID-19 was reported for NNSWLHD to 8pm, November 25. This case is located in the Byron Local Government Area, a traveller from outside the region and e is not associated with the Aquarius Backpackers.

Other News

Day of the Dead ceremony in Mullumbimby

On Sunday about 200 people gathered to laugh, to cry, to mourn and to remember loved ones who have passed away, at the annual Day of the Dead Ceremony which this year was held at Heritage Park in Mullumbimby.

Cartoon of the week – 24 November, 2021

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don't be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Editorial – A potted history of local elections

The election of the Byron Shire mayor and councillors on December 4 will be the ninth such poll this newspaper has covered.

What’s Nu in COVID variants? Highlighted need for stronger Australian contribution

According to the End COVID For All campaign the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in Botswana, most likely to be called 'Nu', underlines the need for Australia to step up its contribution to co-oridnated global efforts to prevent the virus’ spread and mutation.

Keeping children out of prison the focus for Red Cross

How young is too young for a child to be imprisoned? The Red Cross says 10 is too young and wants to see the age raised to 14.

New Russian satellite-killer produces decades of fallout

‘Irresponsible’ Russian anti-satellite weapon sends shockwaves through space community with 1500 fresh fragments cannoning about in low-Earth orbit.

The independent living section of Crowley Care Services in Ballina, which the Greens say refused them the opportunity to provide electoral materials to residents.
The independent living section of Crowley Care Services in Ballina, which the Greens say refused them the opportunity to provide electoral materials to residents.

Chris Dobney

The Ballina Greens have called on the NSW Electoral Commission to declare invalid votes from a Ballina Catholic aged care centre after it refused the party permission to leave electoral materials for residents.

By contrast, the Crowley Care Services residential centre in Ballina gave outgoing Nationals MP Don Page and candidate Kris Beavis a two-hour question and answer session with residents, the Greens have said.

Echonetdaily understands that ‘deemed institutions’ such as aged care centres are obliged to allow candidates a special session with residents, if requested, and to leave election materials for their perusal.

Greens candidate for Ballina, Tamara Smith.
Greens candidate for Ballina, Tamara Smith.

In a letter to the Ballina returning officer, Greens Ballina candidate Tamara Smith wrote, ‘Before the declared institutional voting was due to take place, we attempted to drop off… how-to-vote cards and information about our candidate for the residents to peruse before the lockout of electoral materials, after which time we intended to remove them in line with electoral commission regulations.’

But she said the Greens were disallowed from doing so by the staff at the centre, with no explanation offered.

‘However, we then noticed that they had allowed the Nationals to drop off their materials  – with the only explanation offered for the discrepancy… being that apparently Don Page had dropped them off personally,’ she said in the letter.

Kris Beavis, Nationals candidate for Ballina.
Kris Beavis, Nationals candidate for Ballina.

Q&A session

‘Furthermore, we discovered soon after that the centre personally invited both Don Page and Kris Beavis for a two hour long candidate Q-and-A session.  No other candidates were invited or even informed that this event was occurring, and when candidates from other parties discovered that this event had occurred and requested their own opportunity to meet the residents they were denied – again without explanation from the centre,’ she added.

The letter accused Crowley Care Services of ‘a gross breach of electoral guidelines’, which it said ‘demonstrates a clear leading of voters by the National Party and the centre’.

‘Because of this we are submitting a formal complaint against Crowley Care Services and request that the Electoral Commission deem the votes cast there invalid,’ Ms Smith’s letter concluded.

ALP candidate for Ballina, Paul Spooner.
ALP candidate for Ballina, Paul Spooner.

ALP approved

The ALP, by contrast, said they had not experienced any problems in dealing with Crowley.

‘We didn’t have any problem at all,’ Ballina Labor candidate Paul Spooner told Echonetdaily.

‘We emailed Crowley, who said we were welcome to use a room to meet with residents – we would only have to cover the cost of morning tea,’ he said.

‘In the event, we didn’t have money to do that but a couple of volunteers left materials and said that they were quite pleasant to deal with,’ he added.

Following the original publication of this article, Echonetdaily received the following statement from Crowley.

‘Crowley Care Services does not discriminate against any political party, for state, federal or local government elections. Our policy regarding electoral candidates is consistent.’

‘Our residential care facility is a home for our residents, many of whom are frail. Candidates of any party do not have free access into the home,’ he said.

‘However, political candidates are encouraged to organise and host their own party events and invite our residents to attend, in a timely fashion, should they so wish.

‘For the state election we can confirm some parties organised their own events and invited our residents to attend. These events were held outside the residential care facility and residents’ attended at their own discretion. No party was denied the opportunity to organise and host their own event.

‘Crowley Care Services did not invite Don Page, Kris Beavis, or any other political candidate to the facility or to address our residents. We do not place party political flyers, banners or materials in public places at the facility,’ the statement read.

But no comments regarding the Greens’ allegations that their materials were refused have been received from Crowley Care Services.

According to its website, Crowley is a ministry of St Francis Xavier’s Parish, Ballina and is part of the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Diocese of Lismore.

All NSW Election 2015 Articles

More NSW Election 2015 news and articles

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Kingscliff Public School gets long-awaited upgrade

If you were wondering what is happening at Kingscliff Public School, construction is well underway on an upgrade.

Community carers and responders program launched

Following the recent second anniversary of the bushfires that hit our region, Resilient Byron say they are proud to announce the beginning of their...

Leigh Thomas says political affiliations not relevant to Council decision making

Leigh Thomas is the lead candidate for Group M running in the upcoming Tweed Shire Council elections. Mr Thomas is a member of the...

When we get to 95 per cent vaccination, this will happen

Just when we were getting used to the current COVID roadmap, it has changed directions. Adjustments to previous settings scheduled for this milestone were announced yetserday.