Tony Abbott's refusal to publicly disclose the source of the donations to his $100,000 slush fund is another example of cronyism within the Howard Government. The special deals and favouritism of government ultimately rely on secrecy, especially when it comes to political donations.
Abbott's failure to disclose raises some important questions:
On 11 March 2000 Abbott told the Sydney Morning Herald that:
- Do the donors include business people who Abbott has favoured and assisted in his capacity as Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations? For instance, Terry Sharples has said that Minister Abbott gave favours to a Perth construction company in return for a slush fund donation.
Do the donors include corporations that Abbott has mentioned in Parliament and assisted through his anti-trade union campaign? Were the donations organised by Ian Harley Macdonald, Abbott's campaign director and fundraiser who was subsequently gaoled for embezzlement?
- If Abbott could easily answer these questions he would have given a full account of the 'Australians for Honest Politics' by now. Honest politics demands the disclosure of political donations.
"I had secured the agreement of a donor to provide up to $10,000, if necessary, to cover any costs award made against Terry Sharples".
That was in mid-July 1998. On 10 August 1998 Abbott went on the Four Corners program and denied that any funds had been offered to Mr Sharples.
Having lied to the Australian people, he should now disclose the source of the $10,000 donation.
Since his election to Parliament in 1994, Abbott has specialised in backdoor politics – digging dirt, spreading rumours, raising slush funds and pushing other people forward to do his dirty work.
Having been sprung over Hanson, he must now reveal the identity of his slush fund financiers.