Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ICEO?

The Independent Council Election Observer (ICEO) is a Queensland-wide body headed by retired judge John Robertson.

The first of its kind in Australian electoral history, the ICEO will act as a fact-checker to guard against the spread of false and misleading claims by candidates who are standing for the Queensland local government elections in March 2020. The ICEO will accept requests from candidates across the state to review campaign material, public statements and social media as well as website posts in a bid to ensure voters can base their ballots on truth and accuracy. The ICEO will publish the findings of its reviews on its website and social media platforms.

What powers do you have?

The ICEO will supplement and assist existing regulatory bodies that control local government elections. This includes the Electoral Commission of Queensland, the Office of the Independent Assessor and the Crime and Corruption Commission of Queensland. The ICEO will refer serious cases of misconduct and legislative breaches to these regulatory bodies.

What sort of claims will the ICEO review?

The ICEO will accept requests for review of any campaign material that a candidate believes contains false or misleading information in the lead up to the 2020 Queensland local government elections. This includes printed and online material as well as public speeches. The ICEO will not accept anonymous requests for review and will summarily dismiss any requests it deems to be frivolous, vexatious or without foundation in fact. The ICEO will also self-initiative reviews if it identifies material that could be deceptive or untrue.

Why do we need the ICEO?

The 2016 Queensland local government elections were remarkable for the number, nature and extent of attacks on individuals and councils, with social media providing multiple platforms for unfounded allegations to be aired and spread. We hope the ICEO will hold candidates for election to account and help Queenslanders to vote on the basis of what’s true and accurate and not unsubstantiated, false or misleading allegations.

Who can make a claim?

The ICEO will receive requests from candidates for re-election or election and will also proactively investigate any material that it deems to be false or misleading and publish the findings on its web page.
If voters have concerns about campaign material, they can bring that to the attention of the candidate that they support and, in that way, the ICEO can become involved.

Further Questions

  • No. The Observer is not established pursuant to Queensland legislation and has no legal authority to compel any individual or council to cooperate with it.

  • Yes. While the ICEO is funded by the Local Government Association of Queensland it has been set up to operate at arm’s length from that body.

  • The Observer will be a welcome addition to existing non-partisan fact checkers which are usually associated with media organisations or academic institutions. In some cases media and academia work together. Fact checkers monitor and confirm or challenge the accuracy of allegations made by politicians and candidates, their parties or groups, and their supporters and detractors.

  • Aspiring and recontesting councillor candidates and Mayors. The ICEO cannot accept requests from the public. However, if a member of the public becomes aware of allegations being made or published about a candidate they suspect are false or misleading, they may contact that candidate who may then make a request to the ICEO.

  • No. Anonymous requests will not be accepted for assessment.

  • No. Consistent with the concepts of openness and transparency, review requests that are accepted and responded to will identify the candidates and/or the councils involved.

  • Click on the “Submit a request to the ICEO” portal on this website and complete the form.

  • The Observer aims to publish its response within two working days of the request being made. However, response times may vary, depending on the complexity and volume of requests received.

  • On this website, its Facebook page and Twitter account.