Swiftboating in the Redlands

What should Redlands voters think about a Mayor so desperate to remove a political opponent that she prosecutes him through trial by media just before an election?

A swift boat operating in Vietnam during the 1960s

Some Vietnam Swift Boat veterans unjustifiably criticised John Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign

It is an old trick and a dirty trick and one that is very difficult to recover from. In the USA John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign was sunk, in part, by the unjustifiable  attack on his credibility by some Swift Boat veterans.

The day before pre-poll voting started, Councillor Craig Ogilvie was ambushed by a lurid front page story in the Sunday Mail based on leaked information alleging he used his Council issued phone and iPad to access and store pornography.

It seems reasonable to suspect that this leak, calculated to achieve electoral assassination, could have been instigated by Mayor Karen Williams. She had the opportunity (being aware of the investigation) and she certainly had the motive. Cr Ogilvie has been a major opponent of her controversial pro-developer decisions. Indeed, when Council met to discuss the Shoreline development last November, Cr Ogilvie was the one who raised questions about whether the Mayor had any conflicts of interest to declare.

Mayor Karen Williams

Mayor Karen Williams

When it comes to leaking Council’s confidential information, Karen Williams has form. In February 2012 she was required to make an apology to Council following her “official misconduct” in releasing confidential information to the public.

Since the damaging leak against Ogilvie, Williams has relentlessly prosecuted him through a process of trial by media. Centuries old principles of natural justice have been tossed out of her window.

To keep the public pressure on her opponent, Williams announced that if re-elected she will institute ethics training for all councillors. This from a Mayor currently the subject of official complaints including that she has recklessly or deliberately mislead the public.

Ogilvie says he’s done nothing illegal, nothing to hurt anyone. So far, no allegations against him have been tested and proven through completion of a properly constituted investigative process. But a proper investigation under the rules applying to local government complaints may not have given the Mayor the result that she was seeking.

Mayoral candidate Greg Underwood has called for an independent investigation to find out how this leak occurred, including the roles of Redland City council politicians and bureaucrats. In response, Mayor Williams shows no concern at all about the leak of confidential information and compromising due process. Instead she says:

It is entirely appropriate that Cr Ogilvie’s ultimate employer, the electors of his division, get to exercise their voting rights with full knowledge of his behaviour.

But of course the investigation is unfinished so the electorate will not have “full knowledge”. The information in the public domain is what was carefully selected by the instigator and perpetrator of the leak, and some injudicious statements by Ogilvie to the media just after he was ambushed.

It’s no secret that Williams has been grooming a candidate to oppose Ogilvie, someone who would say “yes” instead of “no”. Presumably, someone much less likely to ask difficult questions and seek inconvenient truths. Perhaps Mayor Karen Williams wasn’t quite confident that her “yes” man would get over the line. Swiftboating Ogilvie would be an easy way to make sure.

Craig Ogilvie - standing for re-election

Craig Ogilvie – standing for re-election

What are the voters in Division 2 going to be more concerned about:

  • A councilor who may have breached some Council policies by using his personal issue iPhone/iPad to access inappropriate content?
  • Or a Mayor attacking a political opponent through trial by media facilitated by the selective leaking of confidential information?

Of course we don’t know for certain who instigated the leak. It hasn’t been properly investigated in accordance with principles of natural justice.


Redlands2030 Editorial – 11 March 2016


Election material authorised by S. MacDonald 104 Channel St Cleveland

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

12 thoughts on “Swiftboating in the Redlands

  1. Politics is a dirty and deceitful business, and this has trickled down to local government. So we can hardly be shocked by the dirty dealings. Like America, we have the best democracy that money can buy, and money does buy results.

    Compulsory voting must also share the blame. Voters who have no knowledge of the candidates and no interest in the results are forced to vote. Instead of spoiling their ballot paper and lodging an informal vote, many of them just tick whatever box they like, thus negating the votes of the few who take an interest and lodge a vote based on the calibre and values of the candidates.

    To my mind all local councillors should be independent and free-minded and vote with their conscience on all issues. The last thing you want is a council of ‘nodding dog’ councillors who blindly follow the dictates of any mayor.

    In the particular case in point, I would vote for any candidate not endorsed by the mayor, as potentially more independent than the mayor’s favorites.

  2. Unfortunately, “nothing illegal, nothing to hurt anyone” doesn’t make it morally right. If Craig Ogilvie hasn’t loaded down sexual images on his council ipad he neeeds to say so. If I had nothing to hide I would be sure to take the newspapers to task for publishing incorrect material.

    It is normal business practice that if a staff member is found to be loading inappropriate images on their computer they be taken to task over it and in most instances it is grounds for immediate dismissal.

    As a councillor and a community leader, we should at the very least expect the same standard to apply. It does concern me and it is important.

  3. as I understand it a draft report into Cr Olgilvie’s laptop issue was illegally leaked to the press before the authorities have finalised it, and before Cr Olgilvie has had a chance to view the accusations, and defend himself. Regardless of the material in question, it is a stupid thing for a Cr to retain sensitive private material on publicly funded phones / laptops. Yep, stupid – not illegal, nor inappropriate if the material was not viewed by others. Cr’s all have private material on their phones / laptops. I’d like to see an audit of all Mayor Williams emails ! She might need to answer some interesting questions herself.
    What concerns me more is the lack of natural justice afforded to Cr Olgilvie and the underhand way there has been an attempt to politically crucify a Cr 2 week’s out from any election. Sleazy, underhand politics that may even be illegal. I hope they track that person down and prosecute them. And that there be a recount of the Redlands’ Council election results when the person behind this shoddy action is outed. This is the sort of tacky political shenanigans we expect from Sierre Leone, or America (see Trump !), not Redlands.

  4. Isn’t this one LNP vs another LNP member? This is like Abbott vs Turnbull.

    • This is not about political parties this is about one candidate accepting donations from the development industry and the other being self funded and not being beholden to anyone, a person who is totally independent

  5. I recall the day that Craig had his Ipad, Computer and phone taken, I suggested he contact a solicitor and also find out where his equipment was being taken, who took it from his office and a receipt. Also he needed a weekly update on where it was. I suggested that he may not have anything of interest on the equipment but the fact once it left his hands what would stop others downloading info on there to set him up.
    I recall back in 2006-2007 Mayor Seccombe, Cr Williams, Beard and John Burns father of Cr Julie Talty and others including the then CEO Ms Rankin trying to set me up on an issue regarding a Quarry. Thankfully it backfired badly on them due to an Ombudsman investigation, but never underestimate what some will do to discredit another especially during an election

  6. It is my understanding Mayor Williams has requested Cr Ogilvie resign his RCC position over his use of phone/iPad to access ‘unmentionable’ material that Mayor has media repeating over and over again. This is an invasion in my view of Cr Ogilvy’s private life and is none of the Mayor’s, or any other busybody’s business. So how did this leak come about? This dirty tactic should not affect the way Cr Ogilvy’s constituents feel about how he carries out his duties acting on their behalf, in Council.

  7. As I recall Cr Karen Williams promised Shoreline, outside urban footprint, to developers if they voted for her. She kept her promise. Attacking Craig Ogilvie is necessary to have him removed from his councillor position in Cleveland in favour of, as stated, a ‘yes’ man to carry on with how, along with mayor’s team, to finalise development and planning of Toondah Harbour and surrounds.
    Federal Member for Bowman, Andrew Laming, campaigned heavily last election to install a ‘dud’ councillor making up the numbers for Mayor’s team who has left the position open to someone else this year. Politics is dirty…and can get dirtier…with a week to go. There’s a week left to continue repeating Cr Ogilvie’s indiscretions with council issued phone/Ipad….are images of him anything like that of ‘the plonker’..Dowling…a former member of the Seccombe Six regime followed by the Williams Six? Anything goes these days as it’s the end result that counts.

  8. couldn’t agree more. Just shows what dirty tricks she is prepared to do to get what she wants.

  9. I would prefer to remain ignorant of any person’s private life, and judge them by their performance in office. Frankly, its none of my business and I don’t want to know. What truely disturbs me and other female community groups about this affair, is how the women that dated this man, are considered collateral damage in the whole unsavoury affair. To his credit, Craig Ogilvy has steadfastly avoided naming any of the women who elected to date him and who might provide reassuring testimony as to his character and treatment of them. He has not exposed them, or their innocent children or extended families to public vilification, shame or exposure. His detractors have not proved as considerate. That those few, and their families were considered in any way acceptable collateral damage in attempt to discredit this man absolutely appalls me. I have since been advised that this action is being investigated for criminal charges. No innocent woman looking for love, or seeking out a father for her children, should suffer the indignity of exposure because of someone seeking to gain advantage in a political campaign. Its a despicable action. Whatever Craig Ogilvies predilections, at least he has honoured the women that unwittingly entrusted their reputations to him, at considerable cost to himself and his electoral ambitions. That should be acknowledged and remembered, whatever his faults as a man. What is that proverb again…something about he that throws the first stone, and looking to one’s ownself first? Does anyone really appear to advantage under a microscope? These people that run for candidacy and expose themselves to this degree of invasion of privacy amaze me. To deny oneself an avenue that would exonerate themselves from the harsh reactions of people who judge because they don’t live lonely lives or share equivalent life experience……well, that’s worth something. Most wouldn’t have an issue defending themselves with everything at their disposal. Mr Ogilvy has elected not to expose the voices best placed to provide a convenient defence. I have to respect him for that.

    • A very well-expressed opinion that tallies with mine. I do hope these unsavoury tactics rebound on the perpetrators and they get a shock at the polling booth.

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