Showing posts with label political donations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label political donations. Show all posts

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC): the case of the $100,000 cash political donation


Sometime after 2 November 2015 the NSW Electoral Commission appears to have noticed that on 12 March 2015, around two weeks before a NSW state election, an organisation known as Chinese Friends of Labor raised $138,000 from an event held in a 750-seat Chinese restaurant in Haymarket, Sydney. 

What piqued the Electoral Commission's interest was that $100,000 of this money appears to have been raised by Chinese Friends of Labor as cash from 12 donors - five of whom were employees or former employees of a second 350-seat Haymarket restaurant usually described as being serving staff, two who were related to that restaurant's general manager and two who were associated with property development company Wu International Investments Pty Ltd.

The NSW Electoral Commission began to wonder if some of the named donors were perhaps 'straw men' for one or more property developers.

Property developers are of course prohibited by law from making political donations in New South Wales. 

As members of the NSW Liberal Party will recall if they think back on the 2016 NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Operation Spicer investigation into political funding which found the Free Enterprise Foundation and "Raymond Carter, Andrew Cornwell, Garry Edwards, the Hon Michael Gallacher MLC, Nabil Gazal Jnr, Nicholas Gazal, Hilton Grugeon, Christopher Hartcher, Timothy Koelma, Jeffrey McCloy, Timothy Owen, Christopher Spence, Hugh Thomson and Darren Williams acted with the intention of evading laws under the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 (the election funding laws) relating to the disclosure of political donations and the ban on donations from property developers. Messrs Grugeon, Hartcher, Koelma, McCloy, Owen, Thomson and Williams were also found to have acted with the intention of evading the election funding laws relating to caps on political donations. The Commission also found that Craig Baumann, Nicholas Di Girolamo, Troy Palmer and Darren Webber acted with the intention of evading the election funding laws relating to the disclosure of political donations and that Bart Bassett knowingly solicited a political donation from a property developer".

On 15 January 2018, after further investigation, the Electoral Commission referred the matter of Chinese Friends of Labor & Labor Party state campaign accounts to ICAC and on 26 August 2019 public hearings in Operation Aero began. 

Five witnesses are to be called this week: Kenrick Cheah (NSW Labor community relations director), Steve Tong (former employee Wu International Investments), Kaila Murnain (General Secretary of NSW Labor)Ernest Wong (former NSW Labor MLC) and Sam Dastyari (former Federal Labor senator).

It has been alleged that Chinese billionaire property developer Huang Xiangmo was the source of the $100,000 cash donation. 

Readers might remember that this particular billionaire was the subject of allegations that he paid a five-figure sum in order to have a private lunch with Minister for Home Affairs and Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton during the period he was seeking Australian citizenship.

Political tragics can follow the hearings here.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation sought US National Rifle Association support for a social media campaign during the 2019 federal election campaign and millions in political funding from gun lobby & Koch Brothers


Pauline Hanson's One Nation (PHON) political party currently only has two members in the Australian Parliament and they sit in the Senate.

PHON wants to hold the balance of power in the Australian Parliament after the May 2019 federal election.

In order to gain the required seats in the House of Representatives, in September 2018 the party was secretly promising to subvert Australia's gun laws in an attempt to gain millions from the powerful US gun lobby to assist its federal election campaign.



Al Jazeera, YouTube, 25 March 2019:

A three-year Al Jazeera investigation into the U.S. gun lobby has uncovered an effort by an Australian political party to seek millions of dollars in political funding while offering to soften strict, anti-gun laws in Australia.

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit used concealed cameras to track ‘Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’, a right-wing, anti-immigration party, as representatives travelled to Washington, D.C. to hold meetings with the National Rifle Association and other lobby groups, as well as the energy giant Koch Industries.

One Nation’s Chief of Staff James Ashby was accompanied on the U.S. visit by Steve Dickson, the party’s leader in the Australian state of Queensland and a candidate in upcoming Australian elections. Ashby and Dickson were recorded seeking up to $US20 million for their election war chest while promising to soften laws, put in place following a massacre in Australia in 1996.

The strict Australian gun laws have often been condemned by the NRA.

Al Jazeera approached all the groups and individuals featured in this programme. 


After meetings with the US gun lobby Ashby and Dickson met with a representative of the Koch Brothers. Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, are the billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries - one of the largest privately-held companies in the world - who are known to support far-right political parties, movements and policies.

Despite there being a federal legislated ban on foreign political donations since November 2018 the Al Jazeera video footage clearly shows that just weeks after this ban was put in place Pauline Hanson and One Nation were still considering seeking support from the US gun lobby and the Koch Brothers.

Having been publicly exposed One Nation now denies it had any intention of watering down national gun laws. 

However, it is clear from the Al Jazeera video that One Nation was promising to open doors for the National Rifle Association with the aim of assisting that exact purpose, because it believed that any significant increase in One Nation representation in the Australian Parliament after the next federal election meant it would have the government "by the balls"

The video also reveals that it was canvassing the possibility of concealing any funding it might receive from the US gun lobby by arranging for the NRA to create and pay for a social media campaign for One Nation's benefit in the lead up to the May 2019 federal election, as well as using the Koch Brothers' network of companies to hide the source of any donations they might make. 

After initially pleading intoxicated bragging while in the US Pauline Hanson's Chief of Staff then had this to say.
Prior to these revelations Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP Scott Morrison had refused to rule out the Liberal Party preferencing Pauline Hanson's One Nation ahead of The Greens and Labor at the federal election.

He partially walked back from this position and announced that the Coalition will be placing PHON below Labor on how-to-vote cards in all states and territories except Queensland. However he would not commit to putting PHON last.

So it is looking as though One Nation may possibly get a third member into the Senate.

WARNING TO QUEENSLAND VOTERS

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Queensland official and Senate candidate in 2019 Steve Dickson has a dream voters should be aware of:

“I’m going to be in one of those drug dealing mansions on the beach. I’ll hire it for a month. The ones that are 25 rooms and the chef and everything. We’ll drink and shoot the s**t [out] of everything down the water. Machine guns and everything. That’s my dream….And we can protect ourselves just in case” [Steve Dickson in How to Sell a Massacre Part 2, You Tube 27 March 2019]


Note:

According to The Guardian on 7 March 2018 Australian gun lobby groups spent more than $500,000 helping minor right wing parties, including One Nation, win seats in the Queensland state election in 2017.

According to ABC News on 27 March 2019 the Australian gun lobby has donated $1.7 million to political parties since 2011 and now per capita spends as much on political donations and campaigns as the US National Rifle Association (NRA).



According to The Sydney Morning Herald on 27 March 2019 the number of firearms in Australia is dramatically higher than before the Port Arthur massacre that killed 35 people, raising fears the gun lobby’s efforts to relax national restrictions are bearing fruit. Pre-Port Arthur in 1996 there were est. 3.2 million firearms in Australia, the post-Port Arthur gun buyback under theAustralian National Firearms Agreement saw that number reduced to est, 2.5 million but by 2017 firearms held in the private hands had risen to 3.6 million.

Gun ownership per capita has fallen reportedly since the Port Arthur massacre, with gun number increases since 1997 reflecting the fact that multiple guns are now being held by individuals. The highest numbers of gun owners appear to be in rural/regional northern and central NSW. Grafton and environs is an area with 7,930 registered guns, spread across the collections of 2,043 owners, with one individual owning 91 registered firearms according to The Daily Examiner on 12 April 2016.

Despite the rise in gun possession since 1997 the number of homicide incidents involving a firearm decreased by 57 percent between 1989-90 and 2013-14. Firearms were used in 13 percent of homicide incidents (n=32) in 2013-14. In 1989-90 it was 24 percent (n=75) of incidents, according to Crime Statistics Australia.


Thursday, 31 January 2019

Australian High Court rejects NSW Berejiklian Government's 2018 electoral funding reforms


In May 2018 the NSW Berejiklian Government announced plans to cap election-related spending by unions, environmental groups, and churches at a maximum of $500,000. 

The Electoral Funding Act 2018 No 20 came into force on 1 July 2018.


Australian Financial Review, 29 January 2019:

In July 2018, the Berejiklian Government reduced the amount that unions and other third parties could spend in the six months before an election from $1.05 million to $500,000. A political party and it candidates, however, can spend up to $22.6 million if it stands candidates in all 93 seats.

The High Court said NSW proved that aiming to "prevent the drowning out of voices in the political process by the distorting influence of money" was a legitimate purpose.

However, it said "the reduction in the cap applicable to third-party campaigners was not demonstrated to be reasonably necessary to achieve that purpose".

The court did not accept NSW's argument that $500,000 was still a substantial sum that would allow third parties to "reasonably present their case".

The lead judgement of Chief Justice Susan Kiefel and Justices Virginia Bell and Patrick Keane said "no enquiry as to what in fact is necessary to enable third-party campaigners reasonably to communicate their messages appears to have been undertaken".

The reforms also sought to ban third parties from acting "in concert" by pooling money into multi-million-dollar campaigns, such as the "Stop the Sell-off" campaign against energy privatisation for the 2015 poll. Those who breach the act would have faced up to 10 years' jail.

Former Commonwealth solicitor-general Justin Gleeson SC was lead counsel for Unions NSW and the five unions which also signed up for the challenge.

BACKGROUND

HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, Judgment Summary, 18 December 2018:

UNIONS NSW & ORS v STATE OF NEW SOUTH WALES [2013] HCA 58

Today the High Court unanimously held that ss 96D and 95G(6) of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 (NSW) ("the EFED Act") are invalid because they impermissibly burden the implied freedom of communication on governmental and political matters, contrary to the Commonwealth Constitution.

Section 96D of the EFED Act prohibits the making of a political donation to a political party, elected member, group, candidate or third-party campaigner, unless the donor is an individual enrolled on the electoral roll for State, federal or local government elections. The EFED Act also caps the total expenditure that political parties, candidates and third-party campaigners can incur for political advertising and related election material. For the purposes of this cap, s 95G(6) of the EFED Act aggregates the amount spent on electoral communication by a political party and by any affiliated organisation of that party. An "affiliated organisation" of a party is defined as a body or organisation "that is authorised under the rules of that party to appoint delegates to the governing body of that party or to participate in pre-selection of candidates for that party (or both)".

Each of the plaintiffs intends to make political donations to the Australian Labor Party, the Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch) or other entities, and to incur electoral communication expenditure within the meaning of the EFED Act. The second, third and sixth plaintiffs are authorised to appoint delegates to the annual conference of the Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch) and to participate in the pre-selection of that party's candidates for State elections. A special case stated questions of law for determination by the High Court.

The High Court unanimously held that ss 96D and 95G(6) burdened the implied freedom of communication on governmental and political matters. The Court held that political communication at a State level may have a federal dimension. The Court accepted that the EFED Act had general anti-corruption purposes. However, the Court held that the impugned provisions were not connected to those purposes or any other legitimate end.

· This statement is not intended to be a substitute for the reasons of the High Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Court’s reasons

Thursday, 1 February 2018

A lesson in political repression courtesy of the Turnbull Government


On 7 December 2017 the Turnbull Coalition Government introduced a bill called the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017.

It is currently before the Senate and the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters which reports to Parliament on 2 March 2018.

This bill purports to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to: establish public registers for key non-party political actors; require non-financial particulars, such as senior staff and discretionary government benefits, to be reported; prohibit donations from foreign governments and state-owned enterprises being used to finance public debate; require wholly political actors to verify that donations over $250 come from an organisation incorporated in Australia, or with its head office or principal place of activity in Australia, or an Australian citizen or Commonwealth elector; prohibit other regulated political actors from using donations from foreign sources to fund reportable political expenditure; limit public election funding to demonstrated electoral spending; amend the enforcement and compliance regime for political finance regulation; and enable the Electoral Commissioner to prescribe certain matters by legislative instrument; and Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 to make consequential amendments.

The bill contains these clauses in relation to not only donations made to political parties but also to donations made to advocacy groups and charities which lobby government:

# 287AA Meaning of allowable donor

 (1) A person or entity is an allowable donor if:

(a) for an individual who makes a gift—the individual:
(i) is an elector; or
(ii) is an Australian citizen; or
(iii) is an Australian resident, unless a determination is in force under subsection

(2) determining that Australian residents are not allowable donors; or

(b) for an entity that makes a gift:
(i) the entity is incorporated in Australia; or
(ii) for an entity that is not incorporated—the entity’s head  office or principal place of activity is in Australia; or

(c) for a person or entity that is a trustee of an unincorporated trust fund or unincorporated foundation, out of which a gift is made—the person or entity is an allowable donor within the meaning of paragraph (a), (b) or (d); or

(d) the person or entity is in a class of persons or entities prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph. Australian residents 

(2) For the purposes of subparagraph (1)(a)(iii), the Minister may, by  legislative instrument, determine that Australian residents are not allowable donors.

# 302P Information relating to allowable donor status

(1) A person (the first person) obtains appropriate donor information from another person establishing that the other person is an allowable donor if:

(a) the first person obtains a statutory declaration from the other person declaring that the other person is an allowable donor (unless subsection (2) applies); or
(b) if the regulations determine information that the first person may seek from the other person in order to establish that the other person is an allowable donor—the first person obtains 11 that information from the other person.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), the regulations may (but are not required to) determine that a statutory declaration that a person is an allowable donor is not appropriate donor information.

Note: A person who obtains appropriate donor information may not commit an offence or contravene a civil penalty provision in this Division (see 17 subsection 287(9) and section 302M).

It should be noted that approved witnesses to a Commonwealth statutory declaration come from specific occupational pools and only justices of the peace are prohibited from charging a fee to act as a witness.

It should be further noted that these clauses are in addition to the bill's amending of the definition of an associated entity which GetUp! asserts threatens its independence.

GetUp! had this to say on the subject:

Our lawyers just uncovered a killer clause in the Turnbull Government's new anti-democratic legislation that would decimate GetUp's ability to fundraise.Can you dig deep to help establish a GetUp Survival War Chest -- while we still can?

If passed, this killer clause would force then anyone who contributes as little as $4.80 a week to the GetUp movement to provide a signed and witnessed statutory declaration.

The impossibility of collecting thousands upon thousands of these documents would spell the end of people-powered fundrasing as we know it.

Of course, we're going to fight tooth and nail to stop this legislation in its tracks. But to prepare for the worst, we're creating a GetUp Survival War Chest, to ensure we run can keep our campaigns thriving no matter what.

Can you dig deep now (while we still can) as an act of defiance against this effort to choke off our people powered impact?


Donations page here.

Friday, 15 December 2017

About that political influence on domestic affairs on the part of foreign powers, Prime Minister Turnbull.....



He went on to excoriate the Labor Party in parliament last week with regard to its contacts with Chinese nationals.

This week the primary subject of Turnbull's verbal attacks announced his resignation from the Australian Parliament.

However, this week also brings news from Western Australia which demonstrates just how hypocritical is the prime minister’s political posturing.

Via @kimbakit

Then came this three days later.

Via @kimbakit

When it comes to close association with or susceptibility to foreign influence, Malcolm Turnbull is engaging in a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black.

By way of background…..

Political donations to the Liberal Party & fund raising at West Australian level involving The 500 Club and companies/individuals having ties to the People’s Republic of China in 2015-16:

The 500 Club (WA) - $15,000, $20,000, $20,000, $20,000, $20,000, $30,000, $55,000
Chaoshan No 1 Pty Ltd ATF Legpro 30 Unit Trust (Chinese billionaire Xiangmo Huang is a director) - $10,000, $20,000,
Hong Kong Kingson Investments (Australian-Chinese billionaire Chau Chak Wing) - $200,000, $200,000
Kingold Group (Chinese-born billionaire Chau Chak Wing) - $200,000

Political donations to the Liberal Party & fund raising at Federal level involving The 500 Club and companies/individuals having ties to the People’s Republic of China in 2015-16:

The 500 Club (WA) - nil
Hong Kong Kingson Investments - $400,000, $100,000, 10,000

Of course neither Western Australia nor the Liberal Party are alone in receiving political donations from Chinese interests and readers can click on this searchable database 
http://democracyforsale.net/search-aec/ to view declared donations from all sources going back to 1998-99.

The connection between political parties and big business which appears to be cemented by these donations has long been a troublesome aspect of federal and state election processes, with ABC News reporting in December 2016; Declared donations and payments to Australian political parties are about to top $1 billion, a new analysis of data shows.

Businesses with Chinese connection donated more than $5.5 million between 2013 and 2015 - a breakdown of these donations can be found here.

Then there is the matter of undeclared donations and other undeclared income.

According to GetUp!:

Australian law requires all payments to politicians over $13,200 to be publicly declared - an important public transparency measure to stop corruption.

But right now there are some gaping legal loopholes that see tens of millions of dollars funnelled into the pockets of our politicians with no oversight, no accountability.

By piecing together fragments of publicly available data, our research reveals the full extent of hidden 'Dark Money' flooding our political system…..

Last election the Liberal Party transparently declared only 13% of their total private income. 

The Liberal Party declared $8.98 million transparently, funnelled a further $5.5 million of donations through "affiliated entities", and listed $8.97 million as "other receipts". A full $45.9 million of their income was undisclosed Dark Money.

Last election the Labor Party transparently declared 21% of their total private income.  

Labor declared $10.4 million transparently and listed $15 million as "other receipts" (note: Labor listed all income from affiliated entities as "other receipts"). A full $24.4 million of their income was entirely undisclosed Dark Money.

Make no mistake, it is not the intention of the Turnbull Government to turn off the foreign donation tap, no matter what the current rhetoric. If NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption investigations have shown us anything, it is that politicians, political parties and vested interests are highly creative in how they deliver/receive banned political donations.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Mr. Huang Xiangmo becomes terse


After allegedly giving a number of large political donations to the Liberal, National and Labor parties, wealthy Chinese national and former chairman of the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China, Mr. Xiangmo of Yuhu Group Australia, grows tired of the media attention ………..

Herald Sun via @johhnybridge2

Mr. Xiangmo pictured with some of his many political acquaintances

Photographs sourced from Google Images

Monday, 3 July 2017

Is the Liberal Party of Australia taking a leaf out of Steve Bannon's playbook


This was a ‘news’ banner on the Liberal Party of Australia’s The Fair Go website on 27 June 2016:
The short eight sentence long spiel behind the login wall began with:

Where does Getup get its money from and what is the real agenda behind the bluster?

From Open Society to Podesta to The Sunrise Project, Avaaz to GetUp in Australia! There’s certainly been a lot of US money a-flowing toward Aussie Leftists groups. So, who is giving who how much and where is it all going?

And ended with this image:


However it did not disclose any “secret money trails” and appeared to base its claims in part on 'fake news' produced during the 2016 US presidential election and the political donations disclosures GetUp! (Getup Limited est. 29 April 2005) regularly submits to the Australian Electoral Commission which can be found on the commission’s website as well as on a GetUp! web page.

According to the staff writers at The Fair Go the villain of the piece is George Soros – one of the people Donald Trump likes to hate – who is supposedly nefariously funding GetUp! through Avaaz.

Of course no mention is made of the fact that two co-founders and current board members of GetUp! were later also co-founders of Avaaz, so there is an existing and acknowledged relationship which has seen these two groups work together on climate change campaigns.

Instead this little gem made it off a staff writer’s keyboard and onto the website:

Getup alone spent $10m on pro-Union, pro-Green, anti-development, anti-jobs agenda last year. They have been getting some help from American organisation Avaaz with $275,000 in donations over the last two years.

But where does Avaaz get their funding from? Open Society Foundation of course! 

All roads lead back to George Soros.

Small problem with the maths though. The figure for the last two Third Party Return of Political Expenditure forms submitted by GetUp! show zero donations from Avaaz in 2015-16 and a single $99,985 donation in 2014-15. Even if one goes back to the 2013-14 form, that included donation would only bring the Avaaz donation total to $195,605 over the last three financial years declared to date.

It should come as no surprise to find that Avaaz also publishes its US expenditure declarations which means that there is even less to The Fair Go’s secrecy claims. Avaaz received a general support grant in 2008-09 from the Open Society Institute (OSI est. 1979) and since then does not appear to have accepted donations from “foundations or corporations”.

As for George Soros and the Open Society Foundations (formerly OSI) – well that registered philanthropic organisation operating world-wide produces annual budgets which show what programs it is involved with and where. Australia is not one of the countries in which it has a presence and, apart from attending at least one international conference which happen to be held in this country and including Australia in its “Case Watch” series and the occasional report, it does not appear to be active here.

The 2016 Open Society Foundations budget showed expected expenditure of US$544.6 million and the 2017 budget expenditure is expected to come in at US$940.7 million. This money goes to small and medium sized organisations such as those providing advocacy, legal aid, assistance to refugees, early childhood development and education and food security in the face of climate change programs, as well as to grass roots activism.

Who would you believe when it comes to “secret money trails”? A political party (with its own political donation probity issues) which couldn’t even come up with an original design for a website which appears to be using the Steve Bannon approach to facts and is aping one of Donald Trump’s pet conspiracy theories, or the publicly available political donation disclosures GetUp! has been submitting since 2006-07.

Monday, 29 May 2017

IN MATES WE TRUST: that all too familiar stench begins to drift across Parliament Drive once more


Prime Minister John Howard with Bob Day then a Liberal donor and party figure
The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 September 2008

On 17 May 2017The Guardian reported on the matter of the eligibility of Family First’s Bob Day1 to sit in the Australian Senate:
A majority of the court found that Day was ineligible from 26 February 2016. He was paid close to $130,000 between then and his November resignation.

Ryan said Day had been warned he was required to repay the salary and superannuation he earned as a senator, and similar letters had been sent to former One Nation senator Rod Culleton.

Barely eight days pass and then……
ABC News, 25 May 2017:

The Federal Government has agreed to waive debts owed by former senator Bob Day, after receiving advice that he may not be able to repay the money.

Special Minister of State senator Scott Ryan told a Senate estimates committee he decided to waive the debts in line with decisions made in similar cases in the past.

In April, the High Court ruled Mr Day was not validly elected to the Senate last year, due to a complex arrangement involving a building previously owned by Mr Day being leased by the Commonwealth.

It was recently revealed the Senate and Department of Finance were pursuing Mr Day and fellow disqualified senator Rod Culleton, seeking the repayment of their salaries and other allowances.

Both men received letters informing them of the situation, potentially owing hundreds of thousands of dollars between them.

Senator Ryan told the estimates hearing Mr Day took up an option to formally request the debt be waived.

The Minister said he was advised pursuing the debts may not be fair.

"It may be seen to be inequitable for the Commonwealth to recover the debt, given Mr Day performed his duties as a senator in good faith," he said.

"The [advisory] committee also noted Mr Day's personal financial circumstances."

Remembering of course that the Liberal Party and its financial backers have a history of propping up Mr. Day…….

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February 2017:

A wealthy fundraising body linked to the Liberal Party has quietly begun bankrolling the organisations behind two of the Coalition's biggest crossbench supporters in the finely balanced Senate.

The Cormack Foundation has donated more than $40 million to the Liberal Party over the last 18 years – including more than $3 million in 2015-16 – making it one of the party's biggest benefactors.

The foundation is an investment company and "associated entity" of the Liberals that donates dividends from its share portfolio. It has stakes in a number of blue-chip companies – including the big four banks, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Telstra and Wesfarmers – raising about $3.9 million last year.

But for the first time in its 30-year history, the foundation last year donated to parties other than the Liberals – giving $25,000 each to the conservative Family First and the libertarian Liberal Democrats, according to the Australian Election Commission annual returns released this week.

The foundation has eight listed shareholders, who are also the company's directors. They include Rupert Murdoch's brother-in-law John Calvert-Jones, former Reserve Bank board member and Business Council of Australia president Hugh Morgan and former ANZ chairman Charles Goode.

The donations came in a year that the Abbott and then Turnbull governments were highly reliant in the Senate on the votes of Family First's Bob Day and the Liberal Democrats' David Leyonhjelm….

It's believed to be the first occasion an "associated entity" has linked itself to more than one political party at a time.

ABC News, 2 November 2017:

The Abbott government ignored the advice of its own bureaucrats when it approved the lease agreement with former Family First senator Bob Day regarding his Adelaide electorate office in 2014.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information reveal the Finance Department advised the Government not to allow Mr Day to relocate his electorate office from the Adelaide CBD to a building he owned in Kent Town, warning it had "concerns about how such a transaction might be perceived"……

Despite this advice, the then special minister of state, Michael Ronaldson, wrote to Mr Day in March 2014 telling him he was willing to consider the arrangement as long as the Kent Town property met Commonwealth standards and that no rent would be charged to the Commonwealth until the lease ended on the CBD office space.

Mr Day sold the building to Fullerton Investments and last December, the company entered into a lease agreement with the Commonwealth under which no rent would be paid……

Mr Day's company loaned Fullarton Investments money to make the purchase — and are ultimately liable for a National Australia Bank mortgage on the building.

Between 2004 and 2006 Bob Day’s company Homestead Homes donated $9,937 to the Liberal Party in South Australia. It is understood that the donation tally may be higher as Day owned more than one company and at least one trust which may have contributed to party coffers.

NOTES