Premier puts pressure on Frecklington over claims

 

UPDATE: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called on the Opposition leader Deb Frecklington to address reports related to property developers attending an LNP fundraiser event.

It follows reports the LNP referred Ms Frecklington to the Electoral Commission of Queensland, over concerns about a series of fundraising events, which could have violated laws intended to stunt political influence of property developers.

"These are very serious issues," the Premier said. "These are matters the leader of the opposition needs to explain.

"There is a ban on property developer donations going to political parties.

"It is a very serious offence for people to be engaging with property developers and getting donations from them when it is against the law to do so.

"There needs to be a full explanation as to who she was meeting with and why she was meeting with them."

The Premier was asked about an event hosted on Saturday night by former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd where thousands of dollars was donated to her party.

Ms Palaszczuk confirmed she was at this function at a private residence.

"There were no property developers present," she said.

The ABC said over at least five events during July and August, a number of attendees made donations totalling "almost $150,000".

While no developers appear to have made donations, and they have denied paying to be there, their presence has caused "considerable concern" inside LNP headquarters.

Ms Frecklington said on Tuesday she has not attended any fundraisers with developers since directed not to by her party in August.

Responding to questions over the issue today, the LNP leader said her team had taken notice of a letter from party secretary Michael O'Dwyer in August warning about fundraising events.

"To ensure full compliance with the legislation and to avoid any perception that the event is a fundraiser attended by prohibited donors, please ensure that prohibited donors are NOT invited to private events and you avoid any such events where it is known that prohibited donors will be in attendance," the letter said.

Ms Frecklington said her team was following that advice.

"We've seen that and I have seen that and I will completely comply with that," she said.

However, she said she was "not sure" whether any developers would be at today's Brisbane fundraiser with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

"I don't think so but I'm not sure because I haven't seen the invite list," she said.

Meanwhile, Ms Frecklington directed journalists to the ECQ website, which states that: "A prohibited donor is banned from making any contributions at a political fundraiser. These include entry fees, raffle tickets or purchases of merchandise."

"A prohibited donor is permitted to attend a political fundraising event for free, however, they cannot pay for food or beverages or any other cost related to the event."

The October 31 election, in which Ms Frecklington is hoping to topple incumbent Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, will be the first since laws were introduced to curb the risk of corruption around government decisions on development projects.

Political parties who makes or accepts donations from property developers faces up to two years in prison, or a $52,220 fine. Any attempt to evade the ban faces ten years behind bars, or a $195,825 fine.

Ms Frecklington is expected to front the media later today.

 

EARLIER: With just weeks to go until Queenslanders head to the polls, the state's Opposition Leader has been reportedly referred to the state electoral watchdog by her own party.  

The ABC is this morning reporting the LNP referred Ms Frecklington to the Electoral Commission of Queensland, over concerns about a series of fundraising events, which could have violated laws intended to stunt political influence of property developers.

Ms Frecklington has spent the week in Queensland campaigning alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison, with the pair expected to host a LNP fundraiser at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Tuesday.

The ABC said over at least five events during July and August, a number of attendees made donations totalling "almost $150,000".

While no developers appear to have made donations, and they have denied paying to be there, their presence has caused "considerable concern" inside LNP headquarters.

The ABC said they approached Ms Frecklington, who declined an interview, instead issuing a short statement: "Anyone who donates to the party must complete a declaration that they are not a prohibited donor."

"There is transparency about who has donated and who hasn't donated."

The ECQ have not confirmed, nor denied, whether it is investigating Ms Frecklington or other people named in the referral.

However, the LNP has this morning denied it had referred Ms Frecklington to the Electoral Commission, but that the party consistently communications with the polling watchdog over whether they're following the rules surrounding political donations in Queensland.

The October 31 election, in which Ms Frecklington is hoping to topple incumbent Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, will be the first since laws were introduced to curb the risk of corruption around government decisions on development projects.

Political parties who makes or accepts donations from property developers faces up to two years in prison, or a $52,220 fine. Any attempt to evade the ban faces ten years behind bars, or a $195,825 fine.

Ms Frecklington is expected to front the media later today.

 

Originally published as Frecklington referred to electoral watchdog over fundraisers


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