Consequences of Disqualification as a Senator on Votes and Payments

With the disqualification of Rod Culleton as a Senator, by virtue of having been convicted at the time of his election for an offence punishable by imprisonment of more than twelve months, and facing sentence, a number of questions arise as to the consequences of this decisions for his votes while sitting in the Senate, and the recovery of any payments made to him. Continue reading “Consequences of Disqualification as a Senator on Votes and Payments”

Re Webster: Members of Parliament, Pecuniary Interests and Disqualification – A Background

At the heart of the High Court challenge to Bob Day’s qualification to contest the Double Dissolution election of 2016 lies the case of Senator James Webster in 1975. Contentious at the time in the midst of wider political controversy, and thought potentially capable of opening up to scrutiny all manner of contractual arrangements, including residential leases, held between MPs and the Commonwealth, the relevant clause was narrowly interpreted by a single judge of the High Court and benefit of the legal doubt given to the Senator.

Since then, it has been the subject of criticism, and may well be overturned in the course of current proceedings. In its submissions in the current case, the Commonwealth has argued that, while Bob Day would fall foul even if the case were applied, Re Webster was too narrowly decided. Herewith the background to the original case, and its aftermath. Continue reading “Re Webster: Members of Parliament, Pecuniary Interests and Disqualification – A Background”

New Rules Net Liberal Party Extra $49,000 For Software Subsidy

After a cap was removed on a controversial public subsidy of the major political parties, 72 Coalition MPs claimed an additional $48,935 in the first half of 2015-16 over and above what could be claimed in previous years.

This was paid to the Liberal owned entity, Parakeelia Pty Ltd, the subject of recent controversy over its practice of funding the Liberal Party by way of public subsidy for electoral management software it developed and owns. Continue reading “New Rules Net Liberal Party Extra $49,000 For Software Subsidy”

The Million Dollar Campaign That Failed to Land A Seat

The controversial No Land Tax Coalition party committed over a million dollars and out spent Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party and the Shooters and Fishers Party by hundreds of thousands of dollars in its ill-fated effort to win a seat in the NSW Legislative Council at the March 2015 election.

Despite declared party and candidate election expenses of $1.063 million, including nearly $645,000 allocated for election day workers, and drawing the coveted first box on the ballot paper, No Land Tax narrowly lost to the Animal Justice Party in the contest for the last remaining seat in the Upper House. The Animal Justice Party spent $4865 on its election campaign. Continue reading “The Million Dollar Campaign That Failed to Land A Seat”

NSW Political Donations Reform – Background and Resources (Updated)

In May 2014, in response to the mounting revelations at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of breaches and circumvention of NSW’s electoral disclosure laws, particularly in respect of donations by prohibited donors, Premier Mike Baird announced a Panel of Experts to review the system of political donations. Continue reading “NSW Political Donations Reform – Background and Resources (Updated)”

Labor Failed to Declare Donation from Torbay’s $100K Donor

According to returns filed with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) never declared a $19,000 donation from the investment outfit at the centre of controversy over a $100,000 donation to the former NSW Independent MP and federal Nationals candidate, Richard Torbay. Continue reading “Labor Failed to Declare Donation from Torbay’s $100K Donor”

A Nationals MP’s take on Obeid and Torbay: From the Parliamentary Record

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a commissioned piece dealing with the associations NSW Labor figures Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald developed with the minor parties and independents on the crossbenches of the NSW Parliament over the years Labor was in office.

It deals in part with Obeid’s association with former Nationals canddiate, Richard Torbay, leading up to the 1999 State Election, through his election as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the plan conceived in desperation to recruit Torbay to the ALP and install him as Premier.

The piece is still a work in progress. What is on the public record are a series of Parliamentary motions and speeches, made by a member of the National Party, The Hon. Melinda Pavey MLC, about some of those links between Obeid and the independents, and in particular, his association with Torbay. These contributions were made whilst Torbay was an independent, prior to his joining The Nationals and winning preselection to take on Tony Windsor in the seat of New England in this year’s election. Continue reading “A Nationals MP’s take on Obeid and Torbay: From the Parliamentary Record”

Blue Books or Bland Books?

After months of wrangling, the O’Farrell Government has finally released several of the “incoming government briefings” – colloquially known as the “Blue Books” – given to it by government departments following the March 2011 election.

The Australian Financial Review had sought the release of these Blue Books under the Government Information Public Access Act (GIPA): the basis of NSW’s freedom of information regime. Continue reading “Blue Books or Bland Books?”

The Einfeld Audits: Making Dead Drivers Tell Tales

I thought you said you were a good driver!”  No no, I never said I was a good driver. I said I was a good parker.” (Jerry and George, “The Parking Spot” episode of Seinfeld)

You don’t understand. A garage… I can’t even pull in there. It’s like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?” (George)

When former Nationals MP and Parliamentary Secretary, Steve Cansdell had to resign last week over a false statutory declaration to keep his drivers’ licence, the ready comparison was made with the fate of former Supreme Court Judge and Human Rights Commissioner, Marcus Einfeld. Continue reading “The Einfeld Audits: Making Dead Drivers Tell Tales”