Following the release of the political donations, Crikey is calling on
its readers to send in their comments, questions and queries to
[email protected]  Search the AEC website for yourself here: 2002-2003 Political Donations

Donation observations from Adelaide

The annual financial returns of political have sparked interest in
Adelaide, where developers Urban Construct have given $36,600 to the
Labour and $24,500 to the Libs.

Urban Construct is one of the firms involved in the controversial
Holdfast Shores development in the historic beachside suburb of Glenelg.

The latest stage, 2B, is winding its way to a foregone
conclusion.  Opponents say the Rann Government allowed Urban
Construct to sell apartments off the plan three days after the public
consultation period closed and before the contentious development
report has gone to Cabinet.

Jay Weatherill, the Minister for Urban Development and Planning and
Administrative Services, already has a portfolio that seems to contain
a conflict of interest wanting to flog public land while deciding what
to do with it.

He may now be facing other questions, too.

Kate Carnell quick to defend Gunns donation

You described it as “outrageous” that Gunns Ltd. donated $50,000 to the
Labor Government in Tasmania. Why is it so shocking that Tasmania’s
largest company and the biggest private sector employer was a major
donor to a Government that they think is doing a good job for the
State? Tasmania’s economy is going great “guns” and Gunns believe that
is worth supporting!


Kate Carnell

National Assoc. of Forest Industries

Halliburton and Metal Storm

Re your “Political Donations” article in the 2nd February edition of
your newsletter – I don’t know, but just wonder, if there is any
connection between the Halliburton KBR Pty Ltd that donated $5000 to
the WA Libs and the US Halliburton formerly headed by US Vice President
Dick Cheney and now so publicly embroiled in the Iraq invasion and
issuing of contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq issues.

I also note that Metal Storm Limited (an Australian weapons development
company trying to woo big contracts from the Pentagon) also donated
$15000 to the Qld Libs. One has to wonder how deep the ties go between
the Libs and the US military-industrial complex and what bearing this
had on our decision to go to war in Iraq.

Connections between Halliburton in the US and WA?

Mate, you have a conspiracy confused mind!  Maybe the Halliburton
of the west is not the Halliburton of the Wild West.  Maybe the
KBR that is now due to reconstruct northern Iraq is not the same KBR
that bought the Adelaide-Darwin rail project from humble Kinhill (who
Dick Cheney praised in a ’97 Halliburton (USA) media release for its
substantial operations in 6 Asian countries, its annual fiscal
expenditure of US23.5 mil and after-tax profit of US$2 mil).

Maybe the same Mr Lesar from Halliburton Houston who rode the first
goods train to Darwin is not the same Mr Lesar of Halliburton Houston
who handed out the Iraqi reconstruction contracts to Halliburton
subsidiaries KBR (surely not part of the Halliburton-KBR of WA?) in the
north and the Parsons Worley Team in the South.

Maybe the Worley Group that worked with Robert Gerard’s Clipsal
Datacomm on the WA rail project is not associated with the Parsons
Worley Team (Parsons having a board of ex-military brass) that the
other Mr Lesar gave the Iraq contract.  Maybe it’s not the same
Robert Gerard who gave away all that money on political donations.

Brompton SA

The NT ALP’s disregard for

Crikey might be interested to hear that not all
voters were able to look at who political parties received their
funding from. The NT ALP failed to disclose their donations citing the Katherine
byelections as the reason they hadn’t been able to submit their records, and
promising to get the records in in a couple of weeks. The Katherine byelection
was held months ago. Is the NT ALP starting to show the same disregard for
democracy as was shown by the Country Liberal Party for many years in the NT?
Shouldn’t this be a national story? Could the Party be deregistered for
failing to meet the requirements of the Electoral Act?

Terry Territorian

The DLP’s legal donations

The DLP has 2 donors, both lawyers.  JBR Beach (former Supreme Crt
Judge Beach’s son?) is down as giving $73,000, the other donor Robert
Semmel makes a big point of saying that his $1500 is an “estimate”
based on losing a no-win-no- fee case (the case that the DLP is
fighting to stay alive). Surprising that the SDA haven’t given them any
money  (they have given to Brian Harradine in the past) so the DLP
must be living off their assets!

Public Sector Pete

Political cults and the Citizens Electoral Council

One angle that never fails to intrigue as regards political donations
is the amount gouged from individuals, rather than corporate coffers by
the Larouchite Citizens Electoral Councils. One individual from
Queensland gave $53,000. All up the CEC was the tenth largest source of
receipts with $1,462,703.94 for a party whose electoral showing makes
the Democrats look good. It is a political cult group which is why it
can extract so much money from its followers despite any success as a
political group (though I have seen New Idea use their material).

On the far right generally I don’t think it is necessarily wrong people
like van Tongerenen get air play as your sealed section yesterday
suggested. Better to let them damn themselves from their own mouths
than ignore them totally, which in my view tends to reinforce the
alienation their followers have toward civil society.

Peter Henderson

Howard should follow Latham’s lead on tobacco

If Labor is “soft on drugs” according to Howard – why does the Liberal
Party continue to take donations/gifts/sponsorship from tobacco
companies?  Doesn’t tobacco and cigarette smoking kill over 19,000
Australians each year?  At least Latham has pledged that the ALP
will no longer accept donations from Tobacco Companies.  Tobacco
may be deemed as a legal and “soft drug” but it sure kills more
Australians than heroin and any other illegal drugs ever possibly
could.  Injecting rooms
are a safe and responsible way to deal with illegal and dangerous drug addictions as is socially & morally possible. 

Isn’t it hypocritical of Howard to say Labor is soft on drugs yet the
Liberal party is quite happy, even smug you could say, about taking
tobacco company’s drug dollars?  Shouldn’t there be more to be
done to stop young people from taking up smoking as the majority of
them will then spend the rest of their lives trying to give up an
addiction that is more powerful than heroin or cocaine yet is somehow
deemed OK by our present government.  This is beyond pathetic, it
is down right insulting and abusing the long-term health of the public
of Australia. 

Political parties need to be made clearly accountable about where their
donations come from and accepting money from tobacco companies that
contribute to the suffering and death of over 4 million people world
wide (and this figure is expected to increase to 10 million by 2025 –
Mackay J. The Global tobacco Epidemic. The next 25 years. Public Health
Rep 1998, 113: 14-21) Is morally repugnant and socially reprehensible.

West Perth

For more political donations coverage see Boilermaker Bill on political donations.

Send in your comments on political donations to [email protected]