Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Barnaby's Distraction Exposes Further Flaws

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Barnaby's Distraction Exposes Further Flaws

Article excerpt

BARNABY Joyce has created another election campaign distraction in the mould of Peter Dutton's previous week's effort with his claim that stopping live cattle exports had unleashed the boats.

His comments will drag attention away from Monday night's Four Corners revelations about the extent of rorting of NSW election donation laws that prohibit those from developers and their associates.

The program explored the NSW State Electoral Commission's refusal to release $4.4million in public funding to the NSW Liberal Party after it failed to reveal the source of Free Enterprise Foundation donations to the federal party's fundraising arm funnelled back to NSW for campaign purposes.

The electoral commission found the Liberal Party had used the foundation to "channel and disguise donations by major political donors, some of whom were prohibited donors".

Former Liberal Party federal treasurer Michael Yabsley told Four Corners that election donation laws needed to be reviewed.

Mr Yabsley said "now looking back on it, those practices are not acceptable and should not have been acceptable in the past".

The Free Enterprise Foundation has denied breaking the law or breaching regulatory requirements.

The revelations by Mr Yabsley, who held his party position from 2008 to 2010, exposes Turnbull insider and Cabinet secretary Arthur Sinodinos, who was the NSW Liberal Party treasurer at the time.

Senator Sinodinos has denied knowledge of the transfers and refused to front a Senate inquiry.

Liberal campaign spokesman Senator Matthias Cormann has dismissed the allegations as a "state matter".

"At the federal level, the laws are very clear. All parties at all levels are expected to comply with the laws as they stand," he said this week in response to questions.

It's not a good look and feeds growing public disquiet about the purchase of influence and favour and the ability by interested parties to direct public policy to their private advantage.

Labor's David Feeney has blunted much of the opportunity presented to his party to go on the attack because of his failure to declare an investment property and his fumbling of policy positions. …

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