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Gambling lobby’s punt with $20k donation to Kevin Andrews

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Conflicts of Interest | Deceptive Conduct | Liberal Party | QED
Liberal Party

Gambling lobby’s punt with $20k donation to Kevin Andrews

August 2013
Liberal MP Kevin Andrews received a $20,000 donation from Clubs NSW, Australia’s most powerful gambling lobby, as he led the formulation of the Coalition’s poker machines policy before the 2013 election, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Clubs NSW donation was made via Victoria’s Menzies 200 Club in August 2013. While the lobby group declared the donation to electoral authorities, it nominated the Victorian Liberal Party as the recipient, which blurred the link to Mr Andrews.Clubs NSW represents the cashed-up, pokie-dominated clubs of NSW.

The Menzies 200 Club did declare the donation. But the Menzies 200 Club failed to declare another $10,000 donation from Clubs NSW, made in June 2014, until eight months after the deadline set by the Australian Electoral Commission.

That donation came three months after Mr Andrews’ bill to repeal Labor’s tough poker machine regulations passed the Parliament. Both Mr Andrews and Clubs NSW refused to explain what the second $10,000 was for, according to the Nine newspapers.

A spokesman for Mr Andrews said that any suggestion his decisions were influenced by the donations was “wrong and offensive”. The spokesman said the Coalition had released a discussion paper on gambling reform in November 2011 and the policy taken to the election varied in only a minor way from the discussion paper, he said.

A leading commentator on gambling policy, Monash University’s Dr Charles Livingstone, said that “in all important respects”, the gambling policies of the Coalition and Clubs Australia were “identical”. “It is as though the policy had been drafted by Clubs Australia and then delivered for Mr Andrews to adopt.”

And according to the Sydney Morning Herald, for some years the telephone number for Mr Andrews electoral office was filed with the AEC as the contact number for the Menzies 200 Club.

Read more.

What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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