Tuesday, 6 May 2014

In the middle of the bad news coming out of the NSW ICAC corruption inquiry the Australian Treasurer is 'offering privileged access' to himself for up to $22k per person


It would seem that if independent retirees, pensioners, the unemployed or low income families want to influence policies being progressed by Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, they need to start piling up their pennies immediately and become one of the select Friends of Joe..........


The Forum has been established for business and community leaders, with a common purpose to exchange ideas and provide policy input for Joe Hockey.  In addition, the NSF seeks to build the much needed financial resources to support Joe Hockey and the Liberal team heading into the future.

The Forum holds regular boardroom lunchs which enable members to discuss matters in an informal environment with Joe.  In our current political environment it is vital for the business community to become actively involved and support Joe's important work.


ABN Lookup 5 May 2014
Click on image to enlarge





Treasurer Joe Hockey is offering privileged access to a select group including business people and industry lobbyists in return for tens of thousands of dollars in donations to the Liberal Party via a secretive fund-raising body whose activities are not fully disclosed to election funding authorities.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption is probing Liberal fund-raising bodies such as the Millennium Forum and questioning their influence on political favours in NSW.
Mr Hockey offers access to one of the country's highest political offices in return for annual payments.
The donors are members of the North Sydney Forum, a campaign fundraising body run by Mr Hockey's North Sydney Federal Electoral Conference (FEC). In return for annual fees of up to $22,000, members are rewarded with "VIP" meetings with Mr Hockey, often in private boardrooms.
The North Sydney FEC officials who run the forum – which is an incorporated entity of the Liberal Party – say its membership lists and therefore the identities of its donors are "confidential". Mr Hockey also says details of who he is meeting and what is discussed are confidential.
What little public information is available reveals members of the forum include National Australia Bank as well as the influential Financial Services Council, whose chief executive is former NSW Liberal leader John Brogden.
The FSC's members, including financial advice and funds management firms, stand to benefit from the changes to the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) laws being considered by the federal government, which would involve a winding back of consumer protections introduced by Labor.
The National Australia Bank would also benefit from the changes.
The chairman of the North Sydney Forum is John Hart, who is also the chief executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia – a hospitality industry lobby group whose members stand to benefit from a government-ordered Productivity Commission review of the Fair Work Act that is expected to examine the issue of penalty rates.
Mr Hart also sits on Prime Minister Tony Abbott's Business Advisory Council.
In March, it was revealed a former member of the North Sydney Forum was controversial infrastructure company Australian Water Holdings (AWH), which has been linked to the family of corrupt former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid and is under investigation by the ICAC over its attempts to win lucrative government contracts….
Mr Orrell said money raised by the forum was often distributed to Liberal Party marginal seats.
However, the forum does not lodge its own disclosures to the NSW Election Funding Authority.
In its disclosures, the NSW division of the Liberal Party declares membership fees – regarded as donations for the purposes of the election funding act – but does not state they are for the North Sydney Forum. This practice masks who is donating directly to the North Sydney Forum and the identity of its members.
A spokesman for the NSW Election Funding Authority said: "There is no record of the North Sydney Forum in the EFA system."
Occasionally members name the North Sydney Forum in their disclosures to the Election Funding Authority but there is no requirement to do so….

The Member for North Sydney is not amused by the fact that the Fairfax media has drawn attention to this fundraising forum, is apparently issuing veiled legal threats and using social media to spread the message:





UPDATE



The invitation to the May 13 budget day event – which features pre-budget briefings, lunch at Parliament House and dinner in the Great Hall – was sent in February by chairman of the North Sydney Forum John Hart, who is also chief executive of hospitality industry lobby group Restaurant and Catering Australia.
The industry group lodged a pre-budget submission calling for the removal of fringe benefits tax from ''business meals'' and an increase to the threshhold above which employers must pay superannuation to $600 a month….
The invitation to the North Sydney Forum budget day event directs donors to make cheques payable to ''Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division)''.
Making out the payment to the party instead of the forum has the effect of preventing donors being identified as forum members on public disclosure documents.
As well, under federal laws, donations of less than $12,400 to a party in a year do not have to be declared to the Australian Electoral Commission.
Fairfax Media has previously revealed members of the forum include National Australia Bank and the Financial Services Council, which stand to benefit from proposed changes to the Future of Financial Advice Act that would weaken consumer protections.
Mr Hart did not respond to a request for comment.

2 comments:

John Fraser said...

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Here in Queensland Hockeys LNP is taking money that should be going to charities :

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/newman-buy-tickets-as-lnp-rakes-in-126-million-20140505-zr530.html

At every turn the Liberals and Nationals take the food of the tables of poorer Aussies.

Anonymous said...

And poor old Billy Shorten is only worth $3,300 - is he really that bad or is it just he has no power? http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/meet-bill-shorten-for-3300-8211-labor-offers-business-leaders-exclusive-access-20140505-zr4us.html