Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Bob Burton

Donor reveals Tasmanian Liberals host secret ‘policy forum’ for corporate contributors

AMP, one of Australia’s largest wealth management companies, has revealed it became one of the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s major donors because the party “began a public policy forum” which it considered “relevant to our business.” However, AMP, Premier Will Hodgman, Senator Eric Abetz and the Tasmanian Liberal Party all remain tight-lipped about what the “policy forum” does, how often it meets and who attends.

In a return submitted to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in mid-May and recently made public, the Canberra-based AMP Services revealed it donated $9900 to the Tasmanian Liberal Party in early December 2014.

AMP’s political donations – which amounted to $72,450 in the 2014-15 financial year – were split between the two major parties. The Labor Party’s national office was given $40,550 and the Liberal Party’s national office and two branches received a total of $33,800.

However, the Tasmanian branch of the Liberal Party was the stand-out winner of the company’s donations to state-based branches of the Liberal Party.

While the Tasmanian Liberals were given $9900, its NSW-based sibling received only $1650. No other state-based branch of any political party received any donation from AMP Services.

The last time AMP Services donated to the Tasmanian branch of the Liberal Party was 12 years earlier and was a modest $2500.

According to AMP, the company’s sudden interest in funding the Tasmanian Liberals was due to the recent creation of a forum for corporate donors.

“The Liberal Party in Tasmania recently began a public policy forum which is a good program and relevant to our business, so we participated,” AMP’s Director Media and Community Relations, Julia Quinn, wrote in an email to Tasmanian Times..

However, Quinn did not respond when asked how the “public policy forum” was “relevant” to AMP’s business. Nor did she respond when Tasmanian Times asked what the forum does and how often it meets.

Quinn stated only that company representatives attend political and public policy events “in order to meet key political figures, build relationships and participate in the conversations to ensure the views of our customers and shareholders are represented.”

Adrian Howard, AMP’s Senior Media Manager of Public Affairs declined to respond when asked what policy issues has AMP raised at these forums on behalf of “customers and shareholders.”

Howard also declined to respond when asked whether AMP had made a further donation to the Tasmanian Liberals in the current financial year.

However, Howard suggested questions about the forum were best directed to the Tasmanian Liberal Party.

Silence from the Tasmanian Liberals

Representatives of the Tasmanian Liberal Party were unwilling to address questions about what the secret ‘public policy forum’ does and who attends.

Tasmanian Times repeatedly emailed the Tasmanian Government’s communications office seeking clarification on whether Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman or any of the Ministers in his government had attended forum meetings, how often they had attended and which companies were represented at the meetings. Despite having the questions for five days the Tasmanian Government did not respond.

Tasmanian Times emailed the media officer for Senator Eric Abetz, the leader of the Tasmanian Liberals Senate Team, seeking clarification on whether he is aware of the forum or has attended meetings of it. Despite repeated requests, there was no response from Abetz’s office.

Nor was there a response from the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s State Secretary, Sam McQuestin, to a series of questions about the forum and who attended.

While AMP was legally obliged to file its return as a donor to the AEC by November 17, 2015 it failed to lodge its return until May 17 this year. “The delay in filing AMP’s return to the AEC was an inadvertent error,” Quinn stated.

Section 315 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 requires that a donor which doesn’t submit a disclosure return “is guilty of an offence punishable, upon conviction, by a fine not exceeding” $1000.

However, even though AMP’s return was submitted to the AEC six months after it was legally due, the AEC does not enforce the provision.

AMP is also a member of the Financial Services Council, (FSC) a financial industry lobby group which is another of the Tasmanian Liberals largest donors. Since the FSC started making political donations over seven years ago, it has contributed a total of $41,870 to the Tasmanian Branch of the Liberal Party.

Bob Burton is a Hobart-based Contributing Editor of Tasmanian Times. His earlier articles on Tasmanian Times are here.

If you would like to be added to his email alert list for when new articles are published you can sign-up here.

Tasmanian Times (TT) is free – always has been, always will be. If you like what TT does, please consider making a donation.
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EARLIER on TASMANIAN TIMES …

• May 24, 2016: Damning findings on training company spark calls for Tasmanian Liberals to return donations

• May 5, 2016: Tony Abbott, an envelope with $5000 in cash and a Liberal campaign donation

• May 5, 2016: Tasmanian Liberals land private training company as a major donor

• April 18, 2016: Who are the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s secret gift-givers?

• March 31, 2016: Australia’s private pathology lobby shifts political donations strategy

• March 15, 2016: The Attorney-General, the Public Trustee and donations to the Tasmanian Liberals

• March 15, 2016: Comment: The right to know & donations to the Tas Liberal Party by the Public Trustee’s lobby group

• February 1, 2016: Tasmanian Liberals disclose origins of less than one-fourteenth of income

• December 14, 2015: Who are the invisible major donors behind the Tasmanian Liberal Party?

• October 29, 2015: What happens if a major political donor doesn’t disclose?

• October 28, 2015: Who’s a Liberal donor gonna call? Rentbusters!

• October 27, 2015: The private pathology industry emerges as major Tasmanian Liberals donor

• Kathryn Barnsley in Comments: Well researched Bob Burton. My preferred title for this behaviour is crony capitalism. Just as Quentin Beresford wrote about forestry and crony capitalism in his wonderful book the Rise and Fall of Gunns, I published a paper last month in an international journal (Evidence and Policy) about the tobacco industry and crony capitalism in Tasmania. Crony capitalism is endemic in this state. Until Tasmanians become aware and concerned about it,, and prepared to do something about it, cronyism will roll on forever. Unfortunately the slash and burn to investigative journalism in all media means there is no public exposure of this behaviour. Thank heavens for the Tasmanian Times and Bob Burton.

• Jacqui Lambie media statement in comments: Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has demanded that all political parties adopt the JLN’s system of open and transparent real-time disclosure for political donations – and show the people of Australia exactly who has given them money, and how much – before election day. “ Everyone in Australia knows that our political funding system is broken. It’s not right, decent or fair that Australian voters will only find out in approximately 18 months who donated – and how much was donated to our political parties or candidates – for this historic and critical double dissolution election.

Cassy O’Connor: Democracy demands Transparency on Donations First the ACT and now Queensland have committed to the real time publication of political donations rather than making voters wait up to 18 months to find out who gave how much to which party in the lead up to an election. It is well past time Tasmania did the same. Under current Federal law and in Tasmania, voters went to the poll on 2 July having no idea who was seeking to buy influence with political parties or candidates. Political donations at the State level are entirely unregulated …

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. John Francis

    July 22, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Well sucked in AMP. Your attempt to help buy the election for the Liberals had no traction at all with the Tasmanian electorate this time around.

  2. Pat Caplice

    July 22, 2016 at 3:21 am

    Trev
    $55 million went to Treasury last year. The costs. Take your pick from the estimates made in Tasmania’s own reviews. X 2 would be $110 million. X 3 would be $165 million. Other reviews, not under Tasmanian Gvt control, have the costs higher than revenue by a factor of 7.

    Treasury has supplied information on the Beneficial Owners of Pokies Pubs. LOL

    “Further to my email yesterday and the additional information sought, our understanding of a “beneficial owner” is any person who enjoys the benefits and/or possession of gaming machine ownership, even though legal ownership of the machine is in the name of another entity. The list of gaming machine license holders provided to you on the website is the only information available that we publish that may assist you in determining who would be benefiting from gaming machine ownership (such as receiving income).”

    That as pretty close to “rack off” as it can get. Peter Gutwein’s department won’t say who makes the money and, in effect, is protecting the identity of those who profit from the Pokies at a local level. Do any Liberal party members, or officials, have interests in Pokies Pub?. Maaaate

    Pat Caplice
    Facebook Moderator
    Rein in The Pokies

  3. Simon Warriner

    July 21, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    re 30, since when do federal and state budgets have to be balanced by increasing revenue?

    How about we balance them by reducing the amount of pork funding of ludicrous electoral bribes like the $300,000,000 now allocated to a half witted proposal to move a perfectly good university campus to a demonstrably inferior site?

    This is why political donation legislation needs to be cleaned up, so that we can see when the money laundering of federal govt grants back into party coffers is taking place, or better still, to prevent it from happening.

  4. TGC

    July 21, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    #29 There many things in the public arena in which the cost of ‘collecting’ taxes -together with other costs- is greater than the taxes collected.
    Personally I have no argument at all with imposing greater restrictions on gambling but neither would I cast my vote for a ‘Party’whose major policy would be to halt/restrict gambling without knowing from them what would be the alternatives in terms of revenue they would have in place.
    From why I read the revenue at present is ‘substantial’ so I don’t think it can just be ignored.

  5. Pat Caplice

    July 20, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Trevor #9 and #13
    Both the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies and our own states research show that the cost, in dollar terms, of problem gambling is more than is returned as taxation. Tasmanian research estimates the cost to be three fold the revenue. Reining in The Pokies will not only lessen the human harm caused by The Pokies but improve the states bottom line.

    Donation declarations should be up front.

    Tasmania’s parliament will soon make a decision regarding the future of The Pokies. The monopoly owner, Federal Hotels, has made donations to both of Tasmania’s major parties and this is documented, as it should be, on the donations register.

    A favoured option of Peter Gutwien is to break the monopoly and allow the individual owners of Pokies Hotels to be the direct owners of the machines, without the need to lease and operate them under Federals auspices. His Treasury, after a number of requests, have not released details of who these Beneficial Owners of these Pokies Hotels are.

    Knowing the location and licencee of Pokies Hotels provides no transparency. Do these Beneficial Owners have relationships with the parties? As this important decision approaches, these details should be in the public arena.

    Pat Caplice
    Facebook Moderator
    Rein in The Pokies

  6. Mark Temby

    July 19, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Best of luck to Cassy O’Connor with electoral donations reform in Tasmania and, for that matter, the ACT and Queensland but it needs to be driven at a Federal level. Apart from the clarity of real time disclosures there needs to be reforms to third party intermediaries and interstate or national transfers. When the major parties resist reforms it only makes one wonder how badly the system has been corrupted. Please enlighten me if there are other conclusions to be drawn but spare me speculation on wealthy, eccentric benefactors.

  7. bazabee

    June 14, 2016 at 2:02 am

    In a word corporatism:
    Corporatism the control of the state by interest groups. In the 20th century Italian fascism was the high point of corporatism.

  8. mike seabrook

    June 13, 2016 at 5:33 am

    have those customers of 60% of tassies electricty output at est.4c per kwh been checked out

  9. Mark Temby

    June 12, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I am far from a Lambie fan and recognise she is not alone in calling for electoral donation reform but she is correct in seeking real-time disclosure of political donations. The LNP, in particular, has sought to avoid disclosures. Both major parties have sought to defer disclosure until after an election. Politics is full of accountants and lawyers. We have a PM who “invented the internet.” Real time disclosures are as simple as EFT banking and the AEC website. Names and amounts will suffice without intermediary organisations.

  10. John Hawkins

    June 11, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Will Abetz explain why Careers Australia Group would declare a donation of $23,500 to the Tasmanian Liberal Party after a meeting with him in Queensland as the Minister of Employment in July 2014?

    They appear to have no interests in Tasmania.

    Further will he explain why the Tasmanian Liberal Party declared the donation to be $20,000.

    What happened to the missing $3,500?

    After Abetz was made Minister for Forests, the now convicted and disgraced John Gay as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Gunns, authorised the donation by the company of $50,000 to the Tasmanian Liberal Party.

    This was a party backing a Gunns Pulp Mill in the Tamar Valley.

    Was Abetz compromised as the Minister by this Donation?

    The Exclusive Brethren Donations to scupper the Greens?

    The Mantach missing money.

    All threads lead back to the No 1 on the Liberal ticket … one Erich Abetz. He is the man in control.

    This trail of donations has a smell about it … what say you Abetz?

  11. TGC

    June 11, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Would JLN accept a donation from anyone- whether that donation be big or small- if the donor requested their ‘real’ name not be published?

  12. Jacqui Lambie media statement posted by editor

    June 11, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    It’s not the size of your political fundraising that counts – but how you disclose it: Lambie

    Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has demanded that all political parties adopt the JLN’s system of open and transparent real-time disclosure for political donations – and show the people of Australia exactly who has given them money, and how much – before election day.

    “ Everyone in Australia knows that our political funding system is broken. It’s not right, decent or fair that Australian voters will only find out in approximately 18 months who donated – and how much was donated to our political parties or candidates – for this historic and critical double dissolution election.

    Australia’s system of political donations has been deliberately set up by our major parties to fail – and be vulnerable to corruption and rorting. It’s been set up so that those with lots of power and money can secretively give money and buy improper influence from their pet politicians and political parties.” said Senator Lambie.

    “During my time in the Senate I’ve detailed where people strongly linked to the Chinese government have donated millions of dollars to both major parties. Some media have also exposed how organised crime has given money to our political parties in order to win influence and power.

    Is it a coincidence that companies who have donated to our major political parties and who have turned over millions and in some cases billions of dollars trading in Australia – have avoided paying tax? “ said Senator Lambie.

    “You only have to see:

    • Who has been able to hide their wealth in offshore tax havens,
    • who has been granted big profitable government contracts, or
    • who has been allowed to buy Australian land, farms and money-making public assets / infrastructure.
    … to realise who will benefit from our failed system of political donations.

    I’m trying to fix Australia’s corrupt political donation system and lead by example.

    The JLN’s open and transparent system of real-time disclosure for political donations – shows the people of Australia exactly who has given them money, and how much – before election day. It is now time for all political parties in Australia adopt my system.

    If the Labor, Liberal and Greens parties are allowed to continue this cover-up of their political donations before elections – then a failed system which has helped undermine our national security, sold off our critical public assets and created more opportunities for corruption, official misconduct and waste – will never be fixed.” said Senator Lambie.

    “In relation to the JLN’s fundraising efforts – it seems that a small section of Tasmanian media today think that $53K isn’t big enough for them. I’d simply remind them of this well-known political fact. It’s not the size of your political fundraising that counts – it’s how you disclose it – that really matters.” said Senator Lambie.

  13. Simon Warriner

    June 9, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    re 15, and in particular this quote:

    ‘‘Let’s say John Smith calls about superannuation,’’ says one Liberal staffer. ‘‘We can see everything about him: his age, profession, marital status, which way he votes. The idea is to not waste time speaking to people who lean one way or the other. You want to focus on the swingers.’’

    Leaving aside the interesting issue about how “they” know which way “you” vote, from my perspective this is nothing less than an admission by a liberal party staffer that Liberal party elected representatives do not “represent” their constituents in an even handed manner, but focus their efforts only on those who are most likely to be persuaded to vote for them.

    If that is the case, then how is any Liberal party elected representative behaving in this manner not guilty of an act of fraud against their electorate?

    There has been a representation made, a reasonable expectation of performance on the basis of that representation and a failure to deliver, and presumably some form of loss, “pecuniary or otherwise” as a result of the failure by the Liberal representative to do their job. Aspiring politicians never, ever say they will only vote for those that vote for them, or might vote for them. Their role is to represent all their constituents who request their help.

    Roger Jaensch might like to ponder this matter, and the interpretation it invites me to make of his sudden inability to attend and ask informed questions at a certain hearing…..

    Up until I read that quote he would have got my vote, despite his party membership, but not any longer.

  14. mike seabrook

    June 9, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    are the recipients of the 4 cents per kwh electricity contracts members – any electoral donations by those parties

  15. Chris

    June 9, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Who needs renewal with faith like this in the 1950’s..
    Malcolm Turnbull had this to say about John Howard:(Guardian)

    To return to my distinguished mentor John Howard. I try very hard to model my government, a modern cabinet government on that of John Howard. He operated what I regard as the gold standard. Of course I am ably assisted there by having his former chief of staff Arthur Sinodinos who is here tonight as the cabinet secretary. I have always said that Arthur was a pillar of the Howard government and he is now as being a senator he’s now a flying buttress of mine.*

    * If only he (Mr $inodonis) could recall or remember or bring to mind where he got the money from (see #15 too)

  16. Chris

    June 9, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Jobson Gwoth is the cry but an Age Letter writer thinks otherwise…. Jobson Decline?
    Where is that fellow Jobson Growth now we have learnt that the tax returns of some Australians are being processed in countries such as India and the Philippines (Money, 8/6), and that the secretive importation of underpaid Chinese welders was made possible by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. The agreement was supposed to benefit Australia, not just avaricious employers.
    Beverley McIntyre,
    Camberwell

  17. TGC

    June 9, 2016 at 12:37 am

    Of course #13 you don’t have to create a Budget- just frustrate anothers.

  18. Kathryn

    June 8, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    And another from the Drum…
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-09/bradley-lessons-from-the-electoral-bribery-allegations/7495154

    Two high-profile political figures have been investigated by the Australian Electoral Commission lately, and reports indicate both have now been referred to the Federal Police for possible prosecution. The allegation in each case is electoral bribery.

  19. Chris

    June 8, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Recycle in todays Age…
    Who’s footing the bill for Lib donations?
    Funding Income mystery
    James Robertson
       You don’t know it, but you might be one of the Liberal Party’s largest donors.

       A company that Liberal MPs direct taxpayer funds towards to keep tabs on voter behaviour is becoming a major source of income for the party, raising questions about whether taxpayers are indirectly footing the bill for donations.

       Fairfax Media can reveal nearly all Liberal MPs pay a company, Parakeelia Pty Ltd, $2500 a year to use ‘‘Feedback’’ software, money understood to come from their taxpayer-funded office allowances.

       Parakeelia is registered to the same inner-Canberra office building as the Liberals. The company’s directors include the Liberal Party’s federal director, Tony Nutt, and president, Richard Alston. It is registered with authorities as being associated with the party.

       Last financial year, Parakeelia transferred $500,000 to the federal Liberal division, making it the party’s second-biggest single source of funds. The year before it came in fourth with $400,000; before that $200,000.

       But the Liberals would not say how much of the company’s revenue began as taxpayer funding.

       Some party figures question whether the party is profiting from public funding.

       ‘‘What are the costs to them from running the software?’’ asked one former Liberal MP. ‘‘You’d have to say minimal. Our contributions per MP are very small, so we never really could know if they were turning a buck or not.’’

       The last time this information was disclosed, a decade ago, half of Parakeelia’s revenues came from MP offices. The balance was mostly money from the Liberal Party machine.

       The software logs information about an MP’s constituents. Every time a voter calls an office, or writes a letter to the local paper, electorate staff make a note about any information gleaned about their political views. Staff also research community groups and businesses and add it to the files.

       ‘‘Let’s say John Smith calls about superannuation,’’ says one Liberal staffer. ‘‘We can see everything about him: his age, profession, marital status, which way he votes. The idea is to not waste time speaking to people who lean one way or the other. You want to focus on the swingers.’’

       That the monitoring work is done by staff already paid by MPs raises questions about how much of the taxpayer-funded $2500 annual fee is profit.

       Parakeelia’s 98 per cent shareholder, businessman and former Liberal treasurer Ron Walker, said he was unaware he was still associated with the company and referred questions to the Liberals.

       Parakeelia’s revenue now regularly nudges or exceeds $1 million a year, an amount that often includes cash injections from Liberal HQ, which sent $250,000 in 2013-14 but none last year.

       The company is listed as an ‘‘associated entity’’ with the Liberal Party by the Australian Electoral Commission. But most of its income falls below the $12,000 threshold which requires disclosure, masking MPs’ contributions.

       In 2006, nearly half of its revenue came from federal parliamentarians’ offices.

  20. spikey

    June 8, 2016 at 3:50 am

    #6 I wholeheartedly agree
    nobody would pay to spend time in such company unless they were the shearing type who hoped to fleece the herd

  21. Michelle Hoult - Nick Xenophon Team

    June 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    TCG #9 I reject the argument that addressing predatory gambling would come at a nett cost to the public purse. The effects of predatory gambling are overwhelmingly negative, with both the immediate costs of providing increased public services to the children and families of exploited problem gamblers and the long term human cost that such destructive exploitation creates. It should be noted that despite the misinformation and fear mongering from our opponents, we do not oppose gambling in all forms, but we are committed to minimising the harm caused to our community by gambling outlets that prey on those most susceptible to their predatory tactics. As to the private costs, I would again question that the nett cost would be significant. Our commitment to supporting Australian manufacturing and production would more than offset any job losses from predatory gambling outlets who are no longer allowed to profit so egregiously from addicted gamblers.

    As a minor party, attempting to create some sort of alternative budget on the basis of hypothetical negotiations with the government of the day is futile and beyond our campaign resources. That said, we certainly acknowledge that budgetary pressures exist and would be more than willing to negotiate with the government of the day on both the implementation of our policy and the budget offsets required for what would be, at worst, a minimal cost.

  22. Mark Temby

    June 6, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    BTW, two more changes. No more political donations where the current process is to be replaced with regulated public funding of elections. This should be supported by harsh penalties and a Federal ICAC.

  23. Mark Temby

    June 6, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    #9, state and federal budgets have each been in crisis for many years. The consumption tax (GST) was meant to address the shortfall in revenue. Keating saw it while Howard-Costello did it. The Henry Review recommended many more changes to strengthen our revenue streams like the MRRT. Rudd rushed it, Gillard negotiated away the revenue and Abbott…well, I’m not sure what he did.

    Australia still needs a modern tax system that is integrated between local, state and federal levels. One part of this should be simplified and economically sustainable property taxation. An improved and broadened land tax, for example. Stamp duty replaced with a simplified and broadened capital gains tax. NG removed.

    One thing we do not need is taxing those in society least able to afford an excessive amount of tax or capable of managing their depression.

  24. Kathryn Barnsley

    June 6, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Well researched Bob Burton.

    My preferred title for this behaviour is crony capitalism.

    Just as Quentin Beresford wrote about forestry and crony capitalism in his wonderful book the Rise and Fall of Gunns, I published a paper last month in an international journal (Evidence and Policy) about the tobacco industry and crony capitalism in Tasmania. Crony capitalism is endemic in this state. Until Tasmanians become aware and concerned about it,, and prepared to do something about it, cronyism will roll on forever.

    Unfortunately the slash and burn to investigative journalism in all media means there is no public exposure of this behaviour. Thank heavens for the Tasmanian Times and Bob Burton.

  25. TGC

    June 6, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Should #8 be elected and the XT assumes a BofP in both Houses – will #8 explain in simple terms how the loss of revenue to a variety of interests- private and public (government) will be made up.

    One assumes the XT has a ‘budget’ which accommodates such a change?- or will that ‘budgeting’ be someone else’s responsibility?

  26. Michelle Hoult - Nick Xenophon Team

    June 6, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    If you missed 4 corners episode “Money and Influence” which aired on May 23 it is worth watching on ABC’s iView. It digs into political donations. Most shocking revelation for me was how many millions one of the major parties make from pokie machines in one of their clubs.

  27. funding and disclosure

    June 5, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    ” Section 315 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 requires that a donor which doesn’t submit a disclosure return “is guilty of an offence punishable, upon conviction, by a fine not exceeding $1000.”

    That says it all!

  28. Luigi

    June 5, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Surely one wouldn’t pay to attend a forum with Eric. A forum with Eric would be too, too much to bear, even if it were free.

    Maybe AMP paid to NOT attend.

  29. Mark Temby

    June 5, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    The most relevant and recent legislation for AMP and the FSC would be the proposed amendments to the Financial Services Act. It is Federal legislation and it stalled in the Senate. Generally, lobbying was acknowledged by the Financial Advisors sector. There was a high degree of community disquiet at the time. In brief, ask Abetz as he was Senate Leader for the government at the time. Pete @ #1 is on the money.

  30. TGC

    June 5, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Just because the unions give huge amounts of union members’ money (some of it compulsorily acquired) to the Labor Party or use it for political advertising doesn’t necessarily mean they expect something in return.

  31. Jack J

    June 5, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, (from Greek: κλέπτης – kleptÄ“s, “thief”[1] and κράτος – kratos, “power, rule”,[2] hence “rule by thieves”) is a term applied to a government seen as having a particularly severe and systemic problem with officials or a ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats) taking advantage of corruption to extend their personal wealth and political power.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleptocracy

  32. Karl Stevens

    June 5, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    In an essentially binary political system, we see entire teams of rentseekers waiting for their chosen ideological conglomerate to attain government.
    Sure, AMP may have extracted some minute advantage by donating to a ‘forum’ that could have been engaged in almost anything, but where is the payoff for the respected journo and his readers?
    There isn’t any, because in an imperialist kleptocracy, payments and kickbacks are explained as an ‘oversight’ or an ‘accounting error’.
    Congratulations to Bob Burton for keeping himself and us entertained in these times of economic meltdown and magnetic pole shifts.

  33. Pete Godfrey

    June 5, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Funny that isn’t it. We all know that political donations have nothing to do with trying to buy influence or to influence policies.

    Now children repeat that ad infinitum.

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