Monday, 9 November 2009

The vexed question of holding political office in two tiers of government raises its head once again

Sometimes it is hard to tell if candidates for political office are merely doing the bidding of their ego-inflated party bosses or are just old-fashioned paternalistic control freaks themselves.

This question is likely to be one faced by voters in the Richmond electorate sometime in 2010-11 if a report in the Tweed Heads Daily News is accurate:

TWEED Shire councillor and former mayor Joan van Lieshout faces no impediment to remaining a councillor if she is elected to Federal Parliament, according to senior council staff.

Cr van Lieshout confirmed earlier this week she would nominate as a Liberal party candidate for the Federal seat of Richmond, challenging sitting Labor Member and Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot.

Cr van Lieshout said she intended to stay on as a councillor even if elected, raising questions from some readers if that was legally possible.

According to the council's Technology and Corporate Services director Troy Green "on the face of it, there is nothing in the Local Government Act that precludes a councillor from being a Federal member".

"Several councillors throughout the country hold positions in local and state government, so there are certainly precedents."

According to a report compiled by political researcher Dr Ian Holland while State and Federal public servants are not eligible to stand for Parliament "no- one is sure whether local councillors are affected".

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