Who did it? So far, no one knows.
Who did it? So far, no one knows.

'DISTURBING': Mayor claims third party may be behind poll

BUNDABERG Mayor Jack Dempsey has suggested a third party may be responsible for the ReachTEL phone poll that mystified the city. 

The poll was conducted around November last year, focusing only on Mayor Jack Dempsey, councillor turned mayoral candidate Helen Blackburn, final-term councillor Judy Peters and final-term councillor Ross Sommerfeld.

Locals were asked who their preferred mayoral candidate was, out of the options.

Questions surrounding who arranged the telephone poll remain and disclosure obligations for the election commenced on January 20.

The anonymous questionnaire has no far not been explained.

Cr Dempsey expressed his concerns about the poll and lack of transparency.

"Candidates are required to declare campaign donations and gifts (and) I note that nobody has disclosed funding the ReachTEL survey at this stage," he said.

"I did not commission the survey, nor did any third party on my behalf, I don't know who organised the survey and I have no knowledge of the results."

Cr Dempsey submitted a letter to the commissioner recently, seeking advice for third-party involvement.

"The government's stated intention has been to strengthen the transparency, accountability and integrity measures that apply to the system of local government and elections in Queensland. I fully support these measures," Cr Dempsey said.

"I ask if it's within your power to obtain information from ReachTEL and to satisfy yourself that no disclosure obligations have been breached.

"It's disturbing if in this case, candidates can use third parties (e.g. political parties, unions, wealthy individuals) to clandestinely circumvent transparency requirements."

Yesterday, the NewsMail contacted all four councillors listed on the survey for comment, however, Cr Dempsey was the only person who responded to queries. 

Previously, Cr Blackburn and Cr Sommerfeld denied involvement, with Cr Peters the only one who didn't respond.