A gambling lobby group reportedly donated thousands of dollars to a fundraising body for Liberal frontbencher Kevin Andrews as he worked on the Coalition’s gambling policy.
Clubs NSW donated $20,000 in 2013 and another $10,000 last year to the Victorian-based Menzies 200 Club that supports Mr Andrews, who is the local federal member for Menzies, Fairfax Media reported.
The first donation was made while Mr Andrews led the formulation of the Coalition’s pokies policy before the 2013 election and the second came after his bill to repeal Labor’s tough poker machine regulations was passed.
Fairfax alleged the Menzies 200 Club failed to declare the second donation for eight months after the deadline set by the Australian electoral commission.
A line in the report stated that it was not suggesting “the donations directly influenced Mr Andrews’ decision making”.
A written statement from Kevin Andrews said any suggestion his decision making was influenced by the donations was “wrong and offensive”.
His full statement, which can be read here, outlines the process that was undertaken in the lead up to the Coalition’s changes to gambling laws.
“The Menzies 200 Club is an associated Liberal Party entity that supports Liberal Party campaigns,” the statement read.
“They are subject to strict disclosure rules and regulations in accordance with Australian Electoral Commission requirements.
“Questions relating to the activities and decisions of Clubs NSW should be directed to Clubs NSW.”
A Clubs NSW spokeswoman told Fairfax the contributions were not made with the aim of influencing Coalition gambling policy.
The revelations have raised the ire of the Australian Greens, whose MPs have renewed calls for the major parties to support reforming political donation laws.
“The current regime certainly undermines public confidence in our democratic institutions,” Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said in a statement.
– with AAP