A mayoral candidate backed by Liberals Isobel Redmond and Jamie Briggs has admitted telling “porkies” about an allegedly leaked council email in order to “protect a mate”.
The two Adelaide Hills-based Liberal MPs are supporting a team called “Back to Basics”, which is aiming for a clean sweep of positions on the Adelaide Hills Council in the current local government elections.
The group aims to rid the Adelaide Hills council of Green-influenced members.
Back to Basics’ mayoral candidate Leone Taylor today admitted she told “porkies” about a confidential council email – and wouldn’t promise not to tell more “little white lies” to protect a friend.
“Yes I did tell a porky, to protect a mate,” she said.
It is up for argument whether another little twist on the truth was told today. When asked on ABC 891 breakfast whether the Back to Basics group was backed by the Liberals, Taylor said: “No, I wouldn’t say that.”
InDaily also asked her about her Liberal connections, and she flat out denied that the group was being supported by Redmond and Briggs.
“No we’re not,” Taylor said.
However, InDaily has seen a flyer for a Back to Basics fundraiser at the Crafers Hotel on September 8, where for $30 guests were to receive a “welcome drink” and enjoy canapes with “guests” Briggs and Redmond.
When InDaily put this to Taylor, she readily identified herself as a Liberal member who had been friends with Redmond for many years, but claimed Redmond and Briggs had attended the fundraiser in the same capacity as all other attendees.
“Isobel and I have been friends for a very long time. She lives in the Hills; I live in the Hills. I’ve got to know Jamie Briggs since he moved here. I know Mark Goldsworthy (the Liberal member for Kavel). I know them all.”
She was reluctant, though, to concede that the group was Liberal, saying it had received no funding from the party. Rather, it was a “conservative” oriented group that wanted to rid the Hills council of Green members.
When put to her by InDaily that “if it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck”, she said: “You put a good case there, but you’re not going to get me to say one little dicky about it. Not one little dicky.”
A spokesperson for Jamie Briggs told InDaily today that his interest in the Adelaide Hills election was as a constituent and a long-time friend of one of Taylor’s running mates – Back to Basics ward candidate Sam Jeffries.
“Him and others are sick of the Adelaide Hills council using their position to play politics and impose themselves on what are essentially federal issues,” the spokesman said.
These issues included climate change, asylum seeker policy and proposed federal changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.
Beyond the political positioning, the most curious part of today’s story is Taylor’s “confession” to reading a confidential email on an Adelaide Hills councillor’s iPad – and her subsequent retraction of this confession.
The story began in 2012 when a constituent (whom we have chosen not to name) wrote to Adelaide Hills councillors to complain about dogs being off-leash in local parks, including that they were covering her in mud and “sniffing my private parts”.
An email was then circulated to some members of the Friends of Stirling Linear Park which ridiculed the constituent.
Shorty after, Taylor wrote an email to members of the council to defend a councillor (who we have also chosen not to name) who she said was being “taken to task” over the email which had been “sent from his iPad to my laptop and subsequently passed to other individuals”.
InDaily has seen a copy of the email, in which Taylor goes on to absolve the councillor of blame for the confidential email getting circulated.
She says the councillor had paid her a visit at her home, during which left his iPad on the table and left the room. At this point, she had a look on the iPad: “I found the email and sent it to my lap top. It was too good an opportunity to miss and I wanted to share this distasteful and ridiculous piece of work with my colleagues. What happened to it from there I have no idea and as such take no responsibility.”
In the email, she claims the letter had no disclaimer about confidentiality and therefore “there is no legal liability involved”.
However, today Taylor disowned this version of events, saying she told a “porkie” to “protect a mate” – the mate being the councillor whose iPad contained the letter.
She told the Mt Barker Courier newspaper that the councillor sent her the letter as they sat “side by side” on the couch and she did not take a clandestine peek.
The leak of the letter was investigated by Police, but those inquiries were dropped without charges being laid.
Taylor wouldn’t elaborate on her about-face, when asked about it by InDaily today. However, she said she was concerned that internal council documents had been leaked to journalists.
She said the release of these documents had been refused by the council under Freedom of Information laws following a request from a Green-aligned person.
She said she opposed the release of the documents because “it was damaging to myself and the councillor and another couple of people as well”.
We value local independent journalism. We hope you do too.
InDaily provides valuable, local independent journalism in South Australia. As a news organisation it offers an alternative to The Advertiser, a different voice and a closer look at what is happening in our city and state for free. Any contribution to help fund our work is appreciated. Please click below to become an InDaily supporter.