There are just so many fascinating vignettes in the political donations
avalanche that it all becomes a little overwhelming. Here are a few
snippets that we’ll endeavour to keep running throughout February and
keep the insights coming.

The Halliburton cash
Trying to keep below the radar was Dick Cheney’s old firm Halliburton
which used its Kellog Brown & Root division to give $5000 to
various Liberal and ALP state divisions. Halliburton built its profile
in Australia when it bought the old Kinhills engineering consulting
outfit and it was dealing with all sides of politics to win a big
contract on that white elephant known as the Darwin-to-Alice rail line.

The Chiekh of it all

Queensland developer George Chiekh is on the Crikey Revised Wealth (CRW)
list but his fortune is very much dependent on favourable planning
decisions by the Queensland Government after he spent $160 million
buying up land in Ripley, near Ipswich. The Courier Mail recently reported that he’s reneged on a sponsorship deal with the Brisbane Lions and there was also talk of one project suffering financial problems. Hmmm, what to make of all this given that Cheikh’s companies
emerged as close to the largest corporate donor to the Queensland ALP
in 2004-05. Cheikh is also quite chummy with Paul Pisale, the Labor
mayor in Ipswich.

The Liberal donor working for Peter Beattie
Former Liberal staffer and reality TV show contestant Joshua Kennedy-White has
continued his personal largesse to the Liberals, donating $20,000 in
2002-03, $14,000 in 2003-04, and $10,000 in 2004-05. It only remains to
be seen whether he can keep up the rate of donations in his latest
job…working for Peter Beattie.

Explaining those Democrat preferencesand Family First
Did the Australian Democrats really pick up $4,250 from the Australian
Christian Lobby? Does that explain the preferences to Family
First at the 2004 federal election? Meanwhile, Family First’s big donors really attracted some attention this morning as this report in TheAustralian shows. The $200,000 from MYOB founder Craig Winkler has surprised many observers, but at least he did it as an individual.

What about the $55,000 caravan?

Crikey hears that one Federal backbencher
in a regional seat was given a caravan worth $55,000 by a donor (which he first
used to take his family on holidays at Christmas) to use in the 2004 election campaign, even though this donor had
given at least $100,000 to his campaign over the previous year. Has this been disclosed? We doubt it.

Ross Cameron – fund raising powerhouse
He might have lost his seat of Parramatta in 2004 after confessing
to serial womanising, but Ross Cameron is said to have been a
fund raising powerhouse for the Liberals leading up to the campaign,
raising an estimated $750,000.

Giving $25,000 back to the local pastor
One Federal Liberal donated $25,000 to a local pastor during
the election who in turn told his flock in all five services, something
to the effect of “I’m not telling you how to vote, but (name withheld)
is here today and he’s been a good friend of ours for a while now.”

Oh dear. Keep all these lovely vignettes coming to [email protected]