Sunday, 6 January 2013

A Short Primer For Tony Abbott's 'Australians for Honest Politics Trust'

Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott often talks of the perceived character failings of other politicians. Here is one instance where his own character can be called into question.
The Australians for Honest Politics Trust was created on 24 August 1998.
This trust allegedly raised approximately $100,000 with the aim of funding one or more civil court cases seeking deregistration of the political party One Nation and the removal of the Member for Oxley Pauline Lee Hanson from the Australian Parliament.
Ms. Hanson, a former member of the Liberal Party was disendorsed as a party candidate during the 1996 federal election campaign, entered Parliament as the independent Member for Oxley once election results were declared and, later formed Pauline Hanson’s One Nation with David Oldfield and David Ettridge. This original One Nation Party was registered on 4 December 1997.
On 3 & 6 July 1998 Tony Abbott wrote to Queensland Electoral Commissioner Desmond O’Shea objecting to the registration of One Nation. On 8 July the Electoral Commissioner wrote to Mr. Abbott for a second time rejecting his objections and reasons.
On 10 July 1998 Terry Sharples commenced civil proceedings in the Queensland Supreme Court formally challenging the registration of One Nation. On or about 11 July Tony Abbott hand wrote a letter to Sharples promising words to the effect that Sharples would not be further out of pocket because of this court case.
On 5 July 2001 criminal charges were brought against Ms. Hanson and David Ettridge and they were sentenced to three years gaol for electoral fraud (apparently with no mention of parole) by Judge Patsy Wolfe in the Brisbane District Court on 20 August 2003. Their convictions were quashed on appeal on 6 November 2003.
At least six recorded judgments appear to be associated with activities of the Trust’s creators:
Sharples v O'Shea & Anor [1998] QSC 171 (31 August 1998)
"One might readily infer that Mr Abbott was as much motivated by party political considerations relating to the next Federal election as he was in the Queensland Electoral Commission inquiring into assertions of misrepresentation and fraud "because of the public interest in the matter".
Australians for Honest Politics trustees were:
The Honourable John Murray Wheeldon – former member of the Labor Party, former Labor Party senator from West Australia, former editorial writer for The Australian (deceased 2006)
William Peter Coleman – former editor of The Bulletin and Quadrant, former Liberal Party Member for Fuller in the NSW Parliament, former Member for Wentworth in the Federal House of Representatives
The Honourable Anthony John “Tony” Abbott – former journalist with The Bulletin, former Workplace Relations Minister in the Howard Government, current Leader of the Federal Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition
There were allegedly twelve donors to this trust and the following individuals have been identified in various media reports as being donors:
Trevor Kennedy - former Consolidated Press Holdings chief executive and new member of Gutenberg Investments group (contribution said to be in the vicinity of $10,000)
Harold Clough West Australian businessman reportedly a major Liberal Party donor and, treasurer of the Lavoisier Group, a director of Clough Limited, on the board of the Institute of Public Affairs and the Asialink Council according to SourceWatch.
Alleged fund raiser for the Trust:
John Samuel – businessman and sometime associate of Tony Abbott
Other individuals allegedly associated with creation of the Trust:
Piers Akerman - The Daily Telegraph columnist
Applicant in original court case:
Terry Patrick Sharples – an accountant allegedly co-opted by Tony Abbott for this purpose by July 1998
Note: David Summers allegedly withdrew as a co-applicant with Sharples and Barbara Hazelton whose separate  proposed court case preparation was paid for by the Trust withdrew her support
Individuals alleged to have interested themselves in the fraud court case:
Tim Fischer - former National Party leader
Ron Boswell - National Party Senate leader
Bill O'Chee - former National Party senator
Copy of the Trust Deed for the Australians for Honest Politics Trust as supplied to the Australian Electoral Commission [AEC] on 20 October 1998 according to the fax timestamp:
Note: The witness signatures on Page 3 have been redacted, the remaining two pages supplied to the AEC are illegible and therefor not posted here.
Excerpt from Margot Kingston’s book Still Not Happy, John! dealing with the Australians for Honest Politics Trust here.
WebDiary Archive

Fairfax Archive

Abbott refuses to supply donors names to AEC when requested in 2004 via a formal notice of investigation seeking records and information

Copy of AEC response to queries concerning the Trust

Tony Abbott media releases 1998:






1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1. The Deed Trust used by Abbott and Co. is a well used legal vehicle to secure finances in an enterprise where outsiders cannot see who are the players involved and, more importantly, its terms do not expose the Trustees to additional claims: Section 4 states: "No Trustee will be liable for any loss of the Trust Fund made in good faith ...", etc.

2. Why did Abbott use this vigilante method to prosecute his agenda? Why not refer the information to the AFP like everyone else?

3. This deed was registered in NSW and deed law states the deed is invalid if a Trustee dies, such as John Wheeldon in 2006. If it were to continue, the new Trustees would have to re-register the Deed with the new trustees. Did this happen? And if so, there would need to be another entry for it in the Tony Abbott's pecuniary interest register.

4. Why does this need to be entered into Tony's pecuniary interest register? Because this Deed enabled invested moneys to be managed by the trustee and there will be a dividend when the Deed is closed.

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