Former Gold Coast mayoral candidate Penny Toland outside the District Court in Brisbane today. Picture: AAP
Former Gold Coast mayoral candidate Penny Toland outside the District Court in Brisbane today. Picture: AAP

Court hears CFMEU gave candidate $38,000 for bus ads

FAILED Gold Coast mayor candidate Penny Toland misled a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing about what she knew about bus advertising paid for by a union heavyweight, a court has been told.

It is alleged Toland misled the hearing in June 2017 about what she knew about the bus advertisements, which were paid for by union giant the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

Toland has pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane District Court today to a single count of perjury.

Failed Gold Coast mayoral candidate Penny Toland arrives at court in Brisbane today. Picture: AAP.
Failed Gold Coast mayoral candidate Penny Toland arrives at court in Brisbane today. Picture: AAP.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Farndon said the CCC began Operation Belcarra after a number of complaints about local government elections in 2016.

She said as a part of those investigations the CCC held a number of public hearings in 2017 where Toland gave evidence.

Ms Farndon said during the CCC hearings Ms Toland claimed she only knew about the advertising after the pictures were on a bus.

The court was told the CFMEU had claimed on disclosure forms to the Electoral Commission of Queensland that the union had provided more than $38,000 in funding for Toland's campaign which was used for bus advertising.

Ms Toland did not disclose any donation from the CFMEU, the court was told.

"She said she was aware that the CFMEU had what she called a 'pro-Penny campaign' and ran it outside of her campaign," Ms Farndon said.

 

 

Penny Toland pictured after giving evidence to the CCC hearing in June 2017.
Penny Toland pictured after giving evidence to the CCC hearing in June 2017.

 

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Electrician James Mifsud, who worked on Toland's campaign, told the court he had approached CFMEU organiser Andrew Sutherland about getting funding for the bus advertising.

He said he did not hear back before he left.

Mr Mifsud said he sent an email about the bus advertisements, including a picture of one, to Toland.

Toland replied in the email: "I have heard of having an ass like the back of a bus haha... looks really good.

"Awesome work with the lights, James."

Another campaign staffer Janine Aitken told the court she had spoken to Toland about bus advertising and had gotten some "costings".

Ms Aitken said she had also left the campaign before the bus advertising was put up.

The trial continues.



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