Last time on Law & Order: Special Investigations Unit...
Nora: We've had our local officials under surveillance for some time and one of them, Councillor Greg Betts, said something interesting this week:
Cr Betts said he had believed he could make unbiased decisions despite knowing the identities of the fund's donors.
"A conflict of interest can only be decided by the person involved," he said. "If you're comfortable that you can make an unbiased decision, then you don't have a conflict of interest."
Nora: That doesn't jibe with the guidelines for councillors set out by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission:
Why should I worry about public perception if my conscience is clear?
The effectiveness of the council depends on public confidence in the integrity of its personnel — councillors and staff. If the public suspect the worst, your reputation and that of the council will be damaged, however sure you may be of your ground. So, even if you are certain your motives and actions are beyond reproach, you should avoid involvement in anything that could be construed as being influenced by personal interests.
Nora: The state is beginning to take an interest in the case. Local Government Minister Desley Boyle has written to the CMC asking for public hearings.
Nick: Good. Plenty more evidence is beginning to come to light such as this story alleging Council deals to create 'bogus green space'. More names are beginning to emerge.
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