Napthine government urges big business to fill Victorian state election war

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The Age: Napthine government urges big business to fill Victorian state election war chest, July 27, 2014, Farrah Tomazin State Politics

Illustration: Matt Golding.

The Napthine government will use the East West Link and other major projects to leverage donations from big business as it builds up a war chest before this year’s state election.

Companies have been asked to spend up to $10,000 to buy a table at a Liberal fund-raiser designed to help the party boost its coffers in the lead-up to the November poll.

Premier Denis Napthine and cabinet ministers Michael O’Brien, Matthew Guy, Terry Mulder and David Hodgett will be the star attractions at next month’s event, with businesses urged to attend and ”financially assist with the re-election of the Napthine government”.

”The Napthine government has laid out one of the most ambitious infrastructure programs in Victoria’s history, and if this is to become a reality, we need your support,” state Liberal director Damien Mantach wrote to captains of industry earlier this month.

The Premier’s Victorian Infrastructure Dinner will be held on August 28 at the Regent Theatre Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne CBD.

It comes as Yarra council joins forces with Moreland council to launch legal action in the Supreme Court against the the government’s East West Link project.

The party’s fund-raising process has also just been put under the spotlight after a secret recording revealed how the Liberals use legal loopholes to hide large donors’ names from scrutiny.

The Weekend Australian was leaked a tape in which Mr Mantach told Liberal members how the party avoided disclosing the names of the big donors by having them donate up to the legal disclosure threshold on June 30 – a maximum amount of $12,800 – and then make a similar donation the next day.

Mr Mantach did not comment about the matter specifically, but when asked earlier about next month’s fund-raiser, told The Sunday Age: ”We raise our money ethically and in accordance with the rules regarding disclosure, and in accordance with the fund-raising code.”

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