Posted November 26, 2015 09:35:50

The Western Australian Opposition has accused the Liberal party of taking benefit of a “loophole” in political donation laws to channel funds to the celebration.

Labor frontbencher Michelle Roberts produced the accusations in State Parliament final evening and pointed to the 500 Club as proof of weakness in WA’s political donation laws.

The 500 Club is a member-primarily based organisation established in the 1980s to raise funds for the Liberal Party and is backed heavily by prominent company figures, with the group donating nearly $ 400,000 to the WA branch in 2013-14 alone.

Even so, WA Premier Colin Barnett angrily rejected the accusations, saying they have been “totally false”.

In the course of a debate on the Government’s proposed lobbyist legislation, Ms Roberts argued the state also required to strengthen laws surrounding donations to close “loopholes” that were being taken benefit of.

Ms Roberts stated the 500 Club was enabling men and women to make donations to a political celebration, with out the accountability or transparency of political donation laws.

These laws, surrounding donations direct to political parties, require the identity of men and women or organisations who give far more than $ 12,400 to a party to be revealed.

‘Backdoor’ technique of donation: Michelle Roberts

“It is a loophole when it comes to the donation laws in this state … there is a backdoor way of donating, if you want to give money to the Liberal Celebration,” Ms Roberts told Parliament.

“If the Premier desires to claim he is offering for openness, accountability and transparency, we won’t have that in this state until we have appropriate electoral disclosure laws.”

But Mr Barnett labelled the remarks “completely false” and said the 500 Club did not accept donations, only raising money via membership costs or fundraisers.

“The Australian Electoral Commission audits the 500 Club every single year and there is no occurrence, no evidence of what the Member for Midland is accusing them of,” Mr Barnett told Parliament.

“I think the members of the 500 Club will be rightly offended by the method the Labor Party had and I challenge the Member to provide a single instance of that and encourage her if she can offer 1 instance to take it to the CCC.

“In no way in my profession in politics have I been influenced by a donation and yet members opposite implied it was routine.

“It is not and does not take place beneath this Government.”

The most recent annual returns published by the Australian Electoral Commission, for the 2013-14 economic year, show the Liberals raised by far the most income of any party in WA, with declared receipts of practically $ ten million.

Both Labor and the Greens declared receipts worth over $ three million.

Subjects: political-parties, state-parliament, perth-6000

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