Sunday, 4 May 2014

NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption questions second member of Abbott Government

Has Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s notoriously bad judgment come home to roost again?

The Sydney Morning Herald 24 February 2014: Tony Abbott with Karen McNamara

Ms McNamara lost the preselection battle at a local level last year to Garry Whittaker.
At the weekend, Liberal Party chiefs decided to parachute Ms McNamara in to number one spot.
"All good things come to those who wait," Ms McNamara said.
"I am excited and enthusiastic about being selected.
"It's an honour Tony (federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott) and the party have confidence in my abilities," she said.

The Daily Telegraph 27 May 2012:

So on the Central Coast, Abbott decreed, there would be no more shed men. In fact, there would be no men at all; instead, two "strong women". In Dobell, it was Karen McNamara, who is backed by Hartcher, while in Robertson, it was Lucy Wicks of the Alex Hawke "soft Right" faction.

In other dramatic evidence on Friday, federal Liberal MP Karen McNamara was accused of participating in electoral fraud over her involvement in raising funds for Central Coast MP Darren Webber, the state member for Wyong, while the NSW Liberal Party's former chief fundraiser, Paul Nicolaou, was alleged to have taken a secret cut of all the donations he collected.

Transcript of the evidence given to the NSW Independent Commission of Inquiry by Karen McNamara Federal Liberal Member for Dobell on 2 May 2014. Evidence begins at Page 35.


Meanwhile Lusted had shared his growing concerns with Hughes about his $5000 donation to Eightbyfive.
“I advised him to get whatever paperwork he had available to him in his business, to get on a plane and to go and talk to Bill ­Heffernan in Canberra,” Hughes told ICAC.
State director Mark Neeham wrote to Lusted on March 14, 2012, noting that all political donations must be disclosed but that, “I confirm that the Party has investigated your claim to the fullest extent permitted by your request that it preserve your anonymity during the course of its investigations. I confirm the Party has not been able to prove or disprove your claim.”
What to do about it was Lusted’s decision. Neeham suggested he talk to a lawyer.
But Lusted had already declared the $5000 and by mid-April the Electoral Funding Authority was investigating. By May 12 Koelma and Carter would be forced to stand aside as Hartcher staffers.
So it seems remarkable, given the questions about what McNamara knew of the hidden payments, that on April 20, 2012 the NSW state executive replaced Whitaker with McNamara as candidate for Dobell. Lusted the whistleblower was ignored.
Abbott would have been aware of the Eightbyfive investigation because it was his representative on the NSW state executive, Bill Heffernan, who reported it.
What were they thinking?
McNamara may be entitled to presumption of innocence but politically her appointment has now become a problem.

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