Tony Abbott Blames Labor for Making Bribery Illegal
In the wake of the resignation of two NSW Liberal MPs over corruption allegations, the prime minister has said the “problem” was the former Labor NSW government banning property developer donations in the first place.
Hunter Valley MPs Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwall stepped down from parliament last week over revelations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac) they accepted money from property developer Jeff McCloy. Donations from property developers were illegal at the time.
Questioned on talkback radio about the damage the revelations were doing to the Liberal party, Tony Abbott said: “The problem was that the former state Labor government, because of a predicament it found itself in, introduced laws banning donations from developers.”
“Who exactly is a developer? That can sometimes be a difficult question. [They] also introduced legislation to limit the total amount of donations and political parties need to raise money,” he told 2GB on Monday morning.
“I think it’s right that political parties have to go to the public and seek support that way rather than just being able to rely solely on the taxpayer. And plainly, some people have cut corners. It’s quite possible some people have broken the law and if that’s the case, whatever party they’re in, they should face the consequences.”
Abbott said the revelations of Icac were a “very bad look” but he and the premier, Mike Baird, wanted to clean up the NSW Liberal party.
“I think this whole question of donations does need to be looked at again, but in terms of the Liberal party itself, what we need to do is to ensure that it belongs to its members, not to factions,” he said.