Palmer company gifts record-breaking sum to mayoral hopeful
A TOWNSVILLE mayoral candidate has received the single largest campaign donation in Queensland's electoral history.
The Townsville Bulletin can reveal Clive Palmer's Mineralogy Pty Ltd has donated $400,000 to independent mayoral candidate Greg Dowling.
The contribution brings the former rugby league star's campaign takings, all through Mineralogy, to $502,833.33
Electoral Commission of Queensland data shows the $400,000 sum is larger than any donation recorded in its online log, which dates back to 2016, and dwarfs the second largest gift - union United Voice's $259,000 contribution to Queensland's Labor Party last year.
It was revealed last week that Mineralogy Pty Ltd donated $100,000 to Mr Dowling's campaign on January 14, one day before the former footy player held a press conference at the Flinders St building recently purchased by Clive Palmer.
At the time Mr Dowling said he was shocked at the amount and had not been expecting the donation, though confirmed he planned to use it on advertising.
Mr Dowling wouldn't take questions about the new donation yesterday.
But the large flow of funds has also reignited debate about political spending caps for local government elections, with the State Government inquiring into the feasibility of a cap at council level.
The State Government also introduced legislation to cap the political spend at its own elections, starting with the October 2020 poll.
Human Rights Law Centre senior lawyer Alice Drury said reports of unprecedented donations toward council candidates showed why caps were "badly needed" at a local level, as voters deserved an election debate driven by ideas.
Local Government Association of Queensland chief executive Greg Hallam, who is supportive of expenditure caps, said any limits had to balance freedom of political communication with the need for a fair election free from "perceptions of undue influence".