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Correspondence: NSW Liberals - what IS that $7million from Westpac?

Article (531 words) posted on 23 Apr 2018 by Rosie Williams

On April 20, I posted the donations made by major banks to the political parties for the 2014-15, 201516 & 2016-17 years:

The extraordinarily high figure reported in the NSW Liberals annual party return has raised eyebrows and prompted further investigation.

Interestingly, this $7 million is also declared both as a donation and on the following page as a debt.

There is no mention of the $7million in Westpac's disclosure return from the same year.

Having no idea whether the way in which this $7million has been documented and accounted for by Westpac and the NSW Liberals is good, bad or indifferent, I've started inquiries with an to email Simon McInnes, the contact provided on the return provided to the AEC to see if he can shed some light on what this $7 million dollars was for. [Saturday May 5]

Update: I received no response from the NSW Liberals but thanks to my Twitter network, an ABC article from 2016 regarding the same amount has been found which explains the large loan from Westpac. According to Four Corners, donations to the Liberals had dried up when the AEC withheld election funding after the Free Enterprise Foundation 'allegedly funnelled funds to the state campaign from prohibited donors under NSW laws'.

When political parties rely so heavily on the major banks for their very existence it is not hard to see why the Liberal government may think twice about calling them to account.