Row over CLP political donations heats up

p1819lawriedeliaLETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – The latest media reports on Foundation 51 donations to the CLP [appear to] show a breach of the provisions of the Northern Territory Electoral Act which requires the declaration of a gift of $1500 or more to, or for the benefit of, a registered party.

 

[Leaked] emails between Foundation 51 Director Graeme Lewis and then Chief Minister Terry Mills in late 2012 [appear to] show that at least $200,000 was funnelled into the CLP election campaign via the party’s slush fund and never declared as required under law.

 

NT Electoral Act Section 194 sub-section (7) [says] if a person makes a gift to any person or entity with the intention of benefiting a registered party, the person is taken for this section to have made the gift to the party.

 

NT Electoral Act Section 215 makes it an offence punishable by imprisonment of up to 12 months for a person not to properly declare donations in returns to the Electoral Commission.

 

The ABC reported that it had obtained an email written by Foundation 51 director Graeme Lewis and sent to the then Chief Minister Terry Mills and five other members of the CLP executive team eight weeks after the CLP took Government in 2012.

 

Once again, the contributors were clearly aware, and did generally stipulate that the funds raised would be devoted to NT elections in 2012 or thereafter, Mr Lewis [allegedly] wrote on 26 November 2012.

 

“I will be mortified if this information becomes widely known. It must be closely held for obvious reasons,” [Mr] Lewis [allegedly wrote].

 

Earlier leaked emails (ABC, 10 October) [allegedly] from Mr Lewis about the purpose of Foundation 51 and who controls it to then CLP President Braedon Earley [appear to] show: “I am the sole director and shareholder, with Terry Mills for obvious reasons, not appearing on registers, but adopting a directorial role throughout.

 

“As you very well know, it was set up for, and supported by numbers of business people and has necessarily had to operate absolutely separately from the Party in order to keep its activities away from public scrutiny.”

 

These emails [appear to] show a direct link between Foundation 51 and the CLP and that it had supported CLP election campaigns.

 

These latest leaked emails [appear to] expose a culture […]. known and tolerated at the highest levels of the CLP. If that is how they run their party, is it also how they run Government?

 

It is disgraceful that Chief Minister Adam Giles has been consistently denying a direct link between Foundation 51 and the CLP […]. It is already public knowledge that Foundation 51 Director Graeme Lewis sent a draft Foundation 51 press release to Mr Giles on (11 May 2014) for his comment.

 

[…]

 

Adam Giles has ignored calls to immediately stand down Terry Mills from his $750,000 taxpayer-funded ‘ambassador’ post in Jakarta. He has already torn up the new standards of behaviour announced when accepting the resignation of the disgraced David Tollner.

 

Adam Giles has to date failed in his duty to act on a motion of Parliament passed in the August Sittings, when the Government was missing in action, to hold an inquiry into the Foundation 51 donations scandal.

 

Is Adam Giles dragging his heels on the political donations inquiry until after [the] Casuarina by-election so he can use the upcoming fortnight of Sittings and the Government’s numbers in the Parliament to amend the Terms of Reference to dodge the Foundation 51 inquiry?

 

Delia Lawrie

Opposition Leader

 

[ED – Chief Minister Adam Giles has still not responded to questions from the Alice Springs News Online, first raised on October 3, asking whether he received campaign donations from a former employer. If so, they should have been declared, but have not been.]

 

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2 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Russell Guy
    Posted October 24, 2014 at 9:00 am

    It’s hard to believe that the NT could benefit from the Chief Minister’s enquiry into political party campaign donations, especially as influential sections of the Alice community see police stationed outside grog outlets as a relief.
    More so that they should believe that the rivers of grog are bottoming out.
    It’s a shame that Aboriginal-owned outlets sell grog, because it puts us in the same rudder-less basket case as Streaky Bay which doesn’t want to upset the tourists by restricting purchases to one bottle of either wine or spirits per adult per day, no cask wine sales and valid identification for every alcohol purchase, but one thing the NT has is plenty of sand in which to stick its policing head.
    “What’s your poison, sunshine?”

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  2. Russell Guy
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    The $300,000 dollar plus, alcohol industry party political donations at the last NT election were declared in the press, with the AHA contributing heavily to both parties.
    I have always thought it a bit suss when adults claim that regulating supply penalises those “who can handle their grog”.
    The federal government has just funded an online community blog called Hello Sunday Mornings, designed to encourage binge-drinkers to recognise their inability to handle alcohol ($1m of taxpayer funds).
    The program’s research shows that those who abstain from alcohol for three months, drink on average 40 per cent less when they resume drinking, but how many come up to speed again is not declared. This research awaits us in La-La Land down the track.
    More than 30,000 have signed-in since 2010 in an attempt to moderate their alcohol consumption.
    To say that Australia doesn’t have a problem with the grog in which the NT is leading the field is dishonest spin.
    Adam Giles says that his government still has “work to do”, but kowtowing to an industry that helps to keep him in government makes it difficult to keep a straight face.
    Claims of moderation in the face of an expansively-minded industry who specialise in catering to the vulnerable are exposed as delusionary by laws which are sponsored by the alcohol industry.
    Playing politics with people’s lives reveals the health of our democracy. We have to beat the grog before it beats us.

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