The former Western
Australian federal Labor MP who famously blew Mark Latham’s taxation policy by
telling a Perth talk-back radio caller during the 2004 election
campaign that the policy probably needed further “fine tuning” is in more

Jann McFarlane, the one-time Stirling
MHR, is being investigated by the Federal Department of Finance
over improper use of electoral entitlements.

McFarlane has denied the alleged infringements which sources say relate
to the use of her telephones by constituents to call relatives living
in India and Pakistan. Although news of
the practice first surfaced after Ms McFarlane lost her seat to Liberal
Michael Keenan 14 months ago, some of the details of the investigation
have only
just come to light.

One insider said
that Mr Keenan’s electoral staffers were stunned when constituents began
arriving at the electoral office expecting to use the telephones to call
relatives living on the subcontinent. Those wanting to
make the calls were told they could not use the telephones.

But one source
said that the refusal had prompted some quite severe objections with
the would-be callers saying they’d been doing so in the past. Ms
McFarlane held
the Stirling seat at two elections before being
toppled by Mr Keenan in 2004.

According to The West Australian, the Howard Government’s
Minister for State Eric Abetz’s office has confirmed that an investigation is in progress – but no
details have been released. It’s not known
if Mr Keenan alerted Senator Abetz’s office to the alleged infringements or if a
constituent had acted unilaterally.

Ms McFarlane,
now a councillor on the City of Stirling
Council, has confirmed she has written to Senator
Abetz and said she “utterly denied and refuted the allegations.”

“Senator Abetz
sent me a letter and I replied to that letter in which I refuted and hopefully
laid to rest the claim that I’d inappropriately used my office resources,” she
told The West Australian.