Section 44: The Cloud Gets Thicker, With An “Office of Profit” Now In The Mix

The cloud hanging over Parliament from the spate of section 44 cases is further complicated by a scenario thrown up by the likely referral of NSW Senator Fiona Nash to the Court of Disputed Return over her possible status as a dual citizen.

Furthermore, at the directions hearing today for the first citizenship five matters referred to the High Court, Chief Justice Susan Kiefel asked the parties to consider what remedies might be appropriate with the passage of time since the last election, given that “we are not in a circumstance where we are close to an election having been held.”

This suggests argument over whether the effluxion of time might require a different solution (such as a re-run of the entire Senate election for an affected State) to the previously used method of recounting the Senate ballots as if the disqualified candidate were not present. Continue reading “Section 44: The Cloud Gets Thicker, With An “Office of Profit” Now In The Mix”

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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”

Political Party Membership in NSW – Figures for 2014-15

Updated to incorporate figures for Country Labor, and account for multi-year memberships in the Labor Party entities. Some minor errors of transcription since first publication have been corrected without notation, but thank you to commenters. If you have comments or queries, either leave them here or tweet me at @smurray38

While there has been much talk about the decline in party membership over the years, there has never been a sure way of ascertaining the state of play, given the reluctance of political parties to share the numerical health of their parties.

However as part of the funding disclosure requirements for the NSW Electoral Commission, NSW political parties are now required to disclose how much money is raised through membership and affiliation fees. Continue reading “Political Party Membership in NSW – Figures for 2014-15”

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)”

“Advisors” suggested using publications allowance for gifts: Randall

In an interview for today’s The West Australian, WA Liberal MP Don Randall addresses the continuing controversy over his allowance claims, including the claim that led to his reimbursing over $5000 for a trip to Cairns. Continue reading ““Advisors” suggested using publications allowance for gifts: Randall”

Ending A Culture of Entitlement

Another day, and the drip of stories on Members of Parliament and their entitlements continues. Inevitably, this has been accompanied by a chorus of calls for changes to “the rules”.

What’s needed is not a look at the rules, but rather, a change in the culture of entitlement. Continue reading “Ending A Culture of Entitlement”

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”

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”