Keep Carmel ‘Broke Funding Law’

Nicole Gooch and I continue our investigation into the Keep Carmel Twitter campaign run by One Small Planet during the 2011 NSW Election. The NSW Greens announced that they have complained to the NSW Funding Authority.

Read the article at New Matilda.

Who Was Behind ‘Keep Carmel ?

“Claimed” said a tweet on the ‘Keep Carmel’ Twitter feed. Carmel Tebbutt had just won the inner-Sydney seat of Marrickville by a tight 0.9 % margin.

It signalled the end of a nearly two month long Twitter campaign which posted 370 tweets promoting the candidate’s achievements and future promises, engaged with the media, and rebutted the campaign of the Greens candidate Fiona Byrne who threatened Labor’s hold on seat. What twitter readers would not have known if that the Twitter campaign was a commercial marketing venture run by ex One-Tel director Brad Keeling.

I reported on this story with Nicole Gooch. It raises questions both about role of marketing in political campaigns and whether Brad Keeling’s One Small Planet and the NSW ALP are in breach of the NSW funding laws which limit the value of donations from third- party organisations.

Read the full article on New Matilda.

Newcastle Business Lobby Targets Labor MP

This NSW election New Matilda story by  Nicole Gooch and I was about a Hunter Valley lobby group Newcastle Alliance which declared itself as a ‘third party organisation’ and ran print and radio ads urging voters not to vote Labor. The Non- Labor candidates included Mayor John Tait and Liberal Party candidate, Tim Owen, previously the deputy commander of Australian forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

NSW political donation reforms prevent interests associated with property development or the liquor industry from making donations to political parties. But a loophole allowing third party organisations to spend up to $525,000 supporting political policies means property developers and hotel interests can still donate to particular candidates.

Read the full article on New Matilda.

What Will The Libs Do About Part 3A?

In the lead-up to the NSW 2011 State election, Nicole Gooch and I published a number of stories about the notorious Part 3 A leglislation which took power of planning decisions away from Local Council and gave it the Minister for Planning and panels appointed by the Minister. After the election, the new Liberal and National Party government is repealing Part 3A but it is not yet clear what form its replacement will take.

In this article we focus particularly on Rose Developments and its proposals for the NSW heritage coastal town of Catherine Hill Bay and commercial marina at Kendall Bay on the Parramatta River in Sydney.

Read the full article on New Matilda.