ScoMo’s court bill costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath is calling on Scott Morrison to reveal how much taxpayers’ money his Government used to back in the former LNP President’s failed court challenge of Queensland’s electoral donations law.

“As part of a suite of electoral reforms, the Palaszczuk Government introduced a ban on developer donations to bring back transparency and accountability to the electoral system,” she said.

“This ban was off the back of recommendations from the Crime and Corruption Commission to ban developer donations for local government.

“To circumvent the ban, the former LNP President sought to challenge it in the High Court and the Morrison LNP Government amended the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, in what can only be described as an appalling abuse of power.

“The High Court handed down its decision on April 17 and yesterday it handed down its reasons, so there is no excuse for the Federal and State LNP to continue to keep people in the dark.

“The Federal and State LNP colluded together and failed – they failed in court and they failed taxpayers.

“Now it’s time for the Morrison LNP Government to reveal how much their failure cost taxpayers.

“We know the court challenge cost Queensland more than $600,000 in defence. But how much was the Morrison LNP Government’s court costs?”

Mrs D’Ath said the High Court’s reasons showed how the LNP at State and Federal levels tried to work together to line their coffers and keep their donations secret by not just attempting to overrule Queensland’s developer donations’ ban, but $1000 thresholds and real-time disclosure, too.

“The Court found the purpose of the Morrison LNP Government’s amendment was to ensure ‘political entities may receive donations to fund any activities from any donors who would otherwise be prohibited by State or Territory electoral laws from making those donations,” she said.

“The Court’s own words were that when the Morrison LNP Government intervened in the court matter, they became a ‘principal protagonist’ due to the Commonwealth law passed to avoid state electoral laws and supporting the former Queensland LNP President’s submission and using taxpayers’ money to argue for his case.

“Scott Morrison needs to tell Queenslanders, and Australians more broadly, how much they paid to fight a court battle for an LNP member to continue to donate to his LNP mates.

“He and the LNP also need to give a commitment to Queenslanders that the LNP has not used any illegal donations during this Federal campaign, in line with the High Court’s findings.”

/Public Release. View in full here.