Friday, 19 September 2014

So what is this Free Enterprise Foundation of which they speak?

According to evidence before the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and other sources, the Free Enterprise Foundation:

* Is listed by the Australian Electoral Commission as an associated entity of the federal divisions of the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia.

* Was created by deed on 20 August 1981 as a $10 trust at the direction of Sir Robert Crichton-Brown, federal treasurer of the Liberal Party of Australia from 1973 to 1985.

* Has set out its objectives in the trust deed are as follows:

* Original trustees were Anthony Joseph Bandle and Charles James Fox who comprised the trust’s original Council. The current trustees are Anthony Bandle and Stephen Francis McAneney.  Both of whom were also trustees of the Greenfields Foundation, an associated entity which was allegedly set up to hide from public view a 1992 $4.7 million political donation to the Liberal Party.

* Accountants are Bandle McAneney & Company.

 Name was registered with the Australian Security & Investments Commission as a business name in 2012.

* Receives political donations which the trust directs onto the Liberal Party of Australia, the Liberal National Party of Queensland, other associated entities of the Liberal Party and, infrequently to registered charities.

In practice the Free Enterprise Foundation does not appear to fulfil all the prescribed purposes set out in the trust document, does not seem to operate independently of the Liberal Party of Australia and, has accepted political donations from prohibited donors in New South Wales which it redirected to the Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division).

Rather disingenuously former NSW Deputy State Director of the Liberal Party and former Metgasco Limited executive, Richard Shields, stated during a 12 September 2014 ICAC Operation Spicer hearing in relation to the Free Enterprise Foundation, which had donated  approximately $700,000 to the Liberal Party to fund its 2011 NSW election campaign:

I knew that it existed, I, I didn’t have a lot, a great understanding of it. I had heard, you know, I, I was of the opinion that it was an organisation that had political or philosophical 
allegiances with the conservative side of politics. 

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