Monday, 13 June 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: a rabble of rorters

So Liberal MPs politically profile their constituents on the back of the taxpayer dollar and, that money is paid on to a company which sends these dollars to the political arm of the Liberal Party of Australia.

And they wonder why their polling is so very ordinary?

You don't know it, but you might be one of the Liberal Party's largest donors. 

A company Liberal MPs direct taxpayer funds towards to keep tabs on voter behaviour is becoming a major source of income for the party, raising questions about whether taxpayers are indirectly footing the bill for donations.

Fairfax Media can reveal nearly all Liberal MPs pay a company, Parakeelia Pty Ltd, $2500 a year to use "Feedback" software, money understood to come from their taxpayer-funded office allowances.

Parakeelia is registered to the same inner-Canberra office building as the Liberals. The company's directors include the Liberal Party's federal director, Tony Nutt, and president, Richard Alston. It is registered with authorities as being associated with the party.

Last financial year, Parakeelia transferred $500,000 to the federal Liberal division, making it the party's second-biggest single source of funds. The year before it came in fourth with $400,000; before that $200,000.

But the Liberals would not say how much of the company's revenue began as taxpayer funding.

Some party figures question whether the party is profiting from public funding.

"What are the costs to them from running the software?," asked one former Liberal MP. "You'd have to say minimal. Our contributions per MP are very small, so we never really could know if they were turning a buck or not."

The last time this information was disclosed, a decade ago, half of Parakeelia's revenues came from MP offices. The balance was mostly money from the Liberal Party machine.

The software logs information about an MP's constituents. Every time a voter calls an office, or writes a letter to the local paper, electorate staff make a note about any information gleaned about their political views. Staff also proactively research community groups and businesses and add it to the files……

Parakeelia Pty Ltd declared to the Australian Electoral Commission that it directly gave the federal Liberal Party an estimated $550,392 - for an election campaign which gave us Tony Abbott as prime minister. 

The same associated entity will directly hand the federal Liberals at least $269,176 to try and keep Malcolm Turnbull in office.

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