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ICAC Spicer report turns up heat on need for national anti-corruption reforms

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 30 Aug 2016

The ICAC Spicer Report into corrupt political donations puts the spotlight on the need for a National Anti-Corruption Commission and electoral funding reform, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.

Operation Spicer investigated Liberal Party campaign donations funnelled between different arms of the party at the time Cabinet Secretary, Senator Arthur Sinodinos was the NSW party treasurer. 

Senator Rhiannon said, “The ICAC Spicer Report reveals cases of the Liberal Party breaking NSW laws on political donations and gives further weight to the growing demand for a National Anti-Corruption Commission and political donation reform. 

“Groups associated with the Liberal Party funnelled political donations through the Free Enterprise Foundation to avoid scrutiny.

“NSW ICAC has reported that Lindsay Partridge, the managing director of Brickworks Ltd, sent a $125,000 cheque to the Free Enterprise Foundation along with a letter that said ‘We trust this donation will provide assistance with the 2011 NSW State election campaign’. 

“Brickworks Ltd received government grants totalling $17 million, including $14.6 million of grants relating to the Clean Technology Investment Program.

“Former Greens leader Christine Milne requested that Operation Spicer investigate the grants in 2014, but was told NSW ICAC does not have the jurisdiction. 

“Corruption cannot be dismissed as just a NSW matter. This report provides more evidence that corrupt activities do not stop at state borders.

“While there were no adverse findings against Senator Sinodinos by the NSW ICAC the Australian Electoral Commission found that he has been in involved in ‘arrangements’ that ‘provided the factual and legal matrix upon which non-requisite disclosure was made by the party’.

“The failure of Mr Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten to support a National ICAC effectively shields their parties, fellow MPs and government departments and agencies from scrutiny of a federal anti-corruption watchdog.

“In April this year Labor and the Coalition voted down a Greens Senate motion for a National Integrity Commission, and in May they voted down a motion calling for political donation reform. 

“The Greens will reintroduce our bill for a national integrity commission and our two political donations reform bills shortly,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

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