Mayor backs ex-judge to remain impartial
NOOSA Mayor Tony Wellington says he has no concerns about former District Court judge John Robertson's ability to impartially assess other complaints.
The respected former District Court judge excused himself from three reviews into Future Noosa election material in his role as the LGAQ-funded Independent Council Election Observer, as his stepdaughter Leigh McCready was involved in the Future Noosa campaign.
Mr Robertson had indicated he was prepared to investigate other matters that arose in the Noosa Council campaign, provided he had no other conflicts of interest.
Cr Wellington said he had no issue with the situation, as Mr Robertson was not related to a candidate, it was not a genetic relationship and he was simply connected to someone assisting candidates.
Cr Wellington said if Mr Robertson considered he was able to independently assess other matters he was comfortable with that.
"I don't see why he can't make an impartial judgment on a candidate in Noosa with whom he doesn't have a connection," Cr Wellington said.
Former Redland City Mayor and OSCAR president Melva Hobson said she respected Mr Robertson for removing himself from the probes.
But she said she thought he should go a step further and remove himself from any investigations in the Noosa Council election campaign.
"I really think he should be removed from anything in relation to Noosa because he has a conflict of interest with a key group," she said.
Mr Robertson had handed over to former Land Court judge Wayne Cochrane, who dismissed two of the three reviews into Future Noosa and upheld one.
Ms Hobson questioned the need for the ICEO and feared overlap with statutory authorities like the Crime and Corruption Commission and Electoral Commission Queensland.
"I don't think anyone else should be doing it," she said.
"The ICEO should be out of Noosa."
Ms McCready said she remembered when she heard her stepfather had been handpicked for the role.
"He's got so much integrity and he's just honest to a fault," she said.
"He'll do a great job."
She said she'd felt a real dissastisfaction with the current council with Noosa voters and said a disconnect with the electorate had been a recurring theme.
"It takes a lot to get people interested in politics to the point where they engage," Ms McCready said.
Local Government Association of Queensland CEO Greg Hallam did not comment at length on the matters.
"This is a matter for the ICEO. The ICEO operates independently and at arm's length from the LGAQ," he said.