News State Queensland LNP loses court battle to keep political donations up to $13,500 secret

LNP loses court battle to keep political donations up to $13,500 secret

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Annastacia Palaszczuk lowered the threshold to $1000 after taking government from LNP's Campbell Newman. Photo: AAP
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Queensland’s Liberal National Party has lost its court bid to avoid disclosing donations of less than $13,500.

Under state law, all donations of more than $1000 to political parties need to be publicly registered.

The LNP argued its federal candidates should fall under federal law – which allows donations of up to $13,500 to go undisclosed – rather than the lower threshold under state law.

The Queensland Electoral Commission took the LNP to court to settle the manner.

Brisbane Supreme Court Justice David Jackson on Thursday ruled there was no inconsistency between the laws, meaning the LNP will need to disclose all donations above $1000.

The Electoral Commission said it was “pleased” with the ruling which upheld the commission’s “long-held position regarding disclosures”.

“We look forward to working with our registered political parties to maintain transparency and accountability with respect to political donations in Queensland,” it said in a statement to The New Daily.

The state Labor government seized on the decision on Thursday, with Tourism Minister Kate Jones declaring the issue a test of Deb Frecklington as leader of the party.

“I call on Deb Frecklington today to show whether she truly is a leader and come clean about who has donated to the LNP, and also answer why she wanted to go to court to hide it,” Ms Jones said.

Ms Frecklington brushed off the criticism, saying declarations were the responsibility of party officials.

“That is a big call that Kate Jones is saying, that my leadership has to do with a Supreme Court judge,” she said.

Campbell Newman’s LNP government lifted the state disclosure threshold to match the federal one during its term in power, but Labor swiftly reversed the move after taking office in 2015.

The LNP was last year forced to retrospectively disclose close to $100,000 worth of donations caught out by the changes.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the public had “a right to know who is donating to the LNP and how much”.

“The LNP have been dragged kicking and screaming to the table. The people of Queensland expect more. They want transparency and confidence in our electoral system, our candidates and political parties.

“Today’s ruling – at taxpayers’ expense – sends a clear message that time is up for the LNP. They need to come clean.”

The New Daily contacted the opposition for comment.

-with AAP