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Councillor questions “Team Adelaide” recruiting, fundraising

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EXCLUSIVE | An Adelaide City Councillor will formally question whether money was requested and public resources used during the recruitment of candidates to the so-called “Team Adelaide” faction, InDaily can reveal.

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"Team Adelaide" claims

North Ward councillor Phil Martin has lodged a series of questions to council staff, asking whether any elected member has used Town Hall meeting rooms or requested payments while recruiting candidates for “Team Adelaide”, a coalition allegedly gathered to form a majority on the next council using weight of numbers and a comprehensive preferences deal.

Martin’s questions on notice, obtained exclusively by InDaily, have been submitted, to be answered at next week’s council meeting.

He asks:

Last week, InDaily revealed claims by south ward candidate Dr Helen Donovan that she had been invited her to join “Team Adelaide” – and was told that joining would require a campaign donation of $1750.

Donovan said it had been explained to her, during the meeting last month, that if the group attracted 19 candidates, it could be “assured” of controlling the next council – by its members forming a majority.

Martin said that since the publication of that story comment on social media and through council emails suggested to him there were questions that needed to be answered.

He stressed his questions did not relate to any particular elected member.

“Since InDaily first published the news of a faction contesting the council election, there has been so much comment on social media and elsewhere about what is and is not appropriate,” said Martin in a statement.

“There has even been an internal council email conversation in which one Councillor has asked ‘is there anything wrong with this grouping of candidates?’.

“The council administration have the resources and access to legal opinion to answer the questions and to provide advice to the elected body and thus to ratepayers generally.”

He said “everyone needs answers” and that lodging questions on notice publicly was “the logical approach”.

“I will have nothing further to add to this controversy until I receive the answers to these questions at the next meeting of Council on August 28th,” he added.

Former Greens Senator and area councillor Rob Simms said yesterday that he had also been asked to join the group, in May (he said it was not called “Team Adelaide” at the time, but pitched as a group collaboration in preparation for the November election).

Simms said he rejected the overture and, while in favour of people running for council, he opposed any “strategy to stack” the next city council through a preference deal.

Abiad, who is currently overseas, did not respond to InDaily’s request for comment on “Team Adelaide” last week, yesterday or today.

He told InDaily last month that he was unaware of any group called “Team Adelaide” – but that it would be beneficial for the council to work together.

He said at the time that he was speaking to prospective candidates and encouraging them to put their hands up, but that he was not aware of any “team”.

Lord Mayor Martin Haese has also denied knowledge of “Team Adelaide” ever having existed, although he had spoken with Abiad about the benefits of a more unified council.

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