News

Alan Jones jumps to defence of late mayor

IN DEFENCE: Alan Jones delivers a tribute at the funeral of Steve Jones at the Gatton Indoor Sports Centre on Friday.
IN DEFENCE: Alan Jones delivers a tribute at the funeral of Steve Jones at the Gatton Indoor Sports Centre on Friday. Rob Williams

SYDNEY radio host Alan Jones used an address to mourners at Mayor Steve Jones' funeral to slam corruption claims levelled against the civic leader.

It emerged this week that Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission was investigating claims of corruption in the Lockyer Valley Regional Council over a land-swap to move residents of flood-hit Grantham to higher ground.

Alan Jones said a front-page article on Thursday in The Australian detailing the allegations was an attack on the mayor's character.

"I must here today defend the reputation of my friend or I should not be here," he said.

"This story was a deliberate attempt - front page, big headline - to besmirch the reputation of this splendid Australian.

"Steve Jones was ethical, decent and honourable."

A spokesman for the CCC confirmed to the Queensland Times it is investigating allegations of corrupt conduct surrounding Lockyer Valley Regional Council.

"As this investigation remains ongoing, it is not appropriate for the CCC to comment further," he said.

"In the interest of fairness and impartiality, the CCC notes that all allegations should be treated as unsubstantiated until a final outcome is reached."

Cairns MP Rob Pyne has been on a one-man crusade in a bid to get parliament to set up an inquiry into his allegations of widespread corruption in local government.

Mr Pyne's refusal to budge on the issue has led to tensions with Local Government Minister Jackie Trad.

Ms Trad ordered her department to investigate Mr Pyne's claims but they found his claims were unsubstantiated.

Mr Pyne said this week his heart was heavy after reflecting on the state of local government across the state.

He said he recently learnt of the term "grey corruption", which describes actions that are immoral, unethical and could be illegal in other states but are not in Queensland.

"Certain ways we can raise the bar in this manner in this state include obviously legislative change," he said.

"One such way is to ban donations to political campaigns from property developers, as occurs in New South Wales. That is one very obvious way because it would prevent what I have seen happen on many occasions.

"That is developers donating to council campaigns and then that elected council voting in favour of developments from that very donor without declaring a conflict of interest."

Topics:  alan jones steve jones tribute



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