A few posts back, I expressed my concern over the Salvos’ endorsement of Jeff McCloy for Mayor.
Tim Halliburton, Media Relations Manager for the Salvation Army in Sydney, eventually replied (on 10 September – after the election). Here’s what he said:
Thanks for getting in touch and apologies for the delay in responding.
In regards to your enquiry, The Salvation Army in the Hunter region is simply saying a ‘thank you’ to Mr McCloy for his generous support to us for our work in the local community. We need to be clear that all Mr McCloy’s involvement with the Salvos was prior to him being involved in politics. Trust this clarifies the situation a bit further and please let me know if there’s anything else we can do for you.
Thanks again for your support.
Meanwhile, Neil Raymond, a prominent local Salvation Army member, posted on McCloy’s Facebook page re: a phone conversation he had with Salvos HQ, who indicated that a $1.5m “donation” had been made around the same time the Salvos endorsed the campaign.
The plot thickens!
Here’s my reply to Tim:
Thanks for getting back to me. I’m sure it was no accident that your reply came after the election ;)
Unfortunately your email didn’t really help clarify what happened in the lead-up to McCloy claiming Salvation Army endorsement for his mayoral campaign (which, like it or not, is what actually happens when you allow “thank you” footage to be used in political advertising). Given other anomalies in Jeff’s campaign, and the fact that he subsequently won the mayoral race and will hold office in Newcastle for the next 4 years, I’m sure you can appreciate my ongoing concern that allowing yourselves to be bought in this way will damage both the Salvation Army and the city of Newcastle. I hope I’m wrong!
Thanks again for your time,
I’m not going to pursue this any further, but I hope someone else will.
Good luck, Newcastle.