Mayoral candidate John Anderson is standing for mayor and the following is his campaign platform in his own words:
‘In May this year, Council passed a resolution urging staff to obtain legal advice on the prospect of banning me from Council chambers until the election and beyond’.
‘I don’t know how much legal research the staff and lawyers did, but they promptly banned me for two years, citing a list of mainly spurious allegations, including claims by a female councillor that I harassed her.
‘My lawyer wrote a letter asserting that my rights had been breached because I was given no chance to respond to said allegations.
‘Council wrote back and claimed that there were no ‘rights’ involved, only ‘privileges’.
‘They also said that even though the decision had been made, I could still offer a defence, and they might change their mind.
‘So I wrote a letter denying almost every claim made, and sent it in. No joy. My lawyer wrote a further letter, but Council ignored it.
‘A third letter was sent, threatening legal action, and this time staff replied that it was not their decision to revoke, it was a decision by the elected Council.
‘This is outrageous because councillors were not supplied with either the staff list of complaints against me or my rebuttal, and there was no further Council resolution.
‘I’ve now had advice from a Senior Counsel that Council only ever had the power to ban me from one meeting at a time, in response to specific disorderly conduct behaviour at that meeting.
‘I’m not across the complex legal arguments involved, but think the staff decision was in house, ie that they disobeyed the May Council resolution by doing no serious research and just made it up as they went along, thinking that they wouldn’t be challenged
‘[Council’s legal advisor] Ralph James in particular, might be more than slightly nervous by now.
‘Senior Counsels don’t come cheap. So it’ll be interesting to see whether Council caves in, or elects to fight and risk the legal cost they’re always bragging about.
‘That decision will have to be made by councillors at their final meeting this month.
‘I think the female councillor involved might have to declare a conflict of interest and recuse herself from the decision on the basis that she has separate, but overlapping legal proceedings against me, and also because she contributed to the allegations.
‘At this stage, I am not sure how Council’s decision might impact on the AVO and the breach allegations against me, but the magistrate has been alerted to the likelihood of parallel civil proceedings, and was given Council’s list of allegations – but not my rebuttals, of course’.