9 November 2015 - Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Nicole Manison, today announced that Territory Labor will call on the legislative assembly to support a full judicial inquiry into Foundation 51.
Ms Manison said only an open and independent judicial inquiry will have the means and authority to help restore the public trust and confidence in Government.
“Territorians must have confidence that the electoral system is open, transparent and free from corruption,” Ms Manison said.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that despite investigations by both the Police and the Electoral Commission, Territorians have been denied the ability to fully scrutinise what transpire between the CLP, Foundation 51 and this CLP Government.
“There are many questions that remained unanswered and Territorians have a right to know.
“The public interest demands that we get to the bottom of how and why Foundation 51 was created and operated, and why it failed to discharge its duties under the electoral laws of the Territory.
“Only by answering these questions can we hope build a more open and transparent electoral system and restore the trust in Government that has been destroy by Adam Giles and his CLP Government.
The Terms of Reference for the Judicial Inquiry are to establish:
The extent of the relationship between Foundation 51, the Country Liberal Party and the Northern Territory Government;
Whether Foundation 51 Pty Ltd has complied with the provisions of the Northern Territory Electoral (the Act);
The extent of any conflicts of interest between the Directors of Foundation 51 and their public duties under Government appointed positions;
The evidence from the investigations conducted by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission and NT Police into Foundation 51 that led to the outcome that there were prima facie breaches of the electoral Act and a reasonable chance of conviction existed, and;
Any other matters the inquiry thinks fit.
The Inquiry will report back to the Legislative Assembly no later than 31 May 2016.
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
22 October 2015 - Opposition Whip Natasha Fyles today called on the DPP to explain why Foundation 51 would not be prosecuted for breaches of electoral laws.
Ms Fyles said it was crucial that confidence in the electoral process and our justice system was maintained.
“Territorians rightly expect that the law is applied without fear or favour,” Ms Fyles said.
“Given that an investigation found a prima facie case and a reasonable prospect of conviction, it is entirely appropriate for the community to expect that the matter would go to court.
“Only a clear and full explanation of the DPP’s reasons not to proceed will give the community confidence that all Territorians are equal before the law.
Ms Fyles also highlighted the arrogant and dismissive attitude of the CLP Government as evidenced by former CLP Treasurer and Foundation 51 Director Graeme Lewis’s “slap on the wrist” comments.
“Today marks one year since the Adam Giles and his CLP Government broke their promise to have an inquiry into political donations,” Ms Fyles said.
“Graeme Lewis’ claims that he would have got a slap on the wrist and a $200 fine if found guilty of breach electoral laws, shows appalling arrogance and ignorance of the electoral act.
“These are serious offences that can carry up to 12 months imprisonment or fines in excess of $150 000.”
‘Graeme Lewis’ comments are typical of a CLP culture which thinks it is above the law and that the electoral act can be breached with impunity.
“While Adam Giles and the CLP remain in power, Territorians can have no confidence that the electoral process is open and transparent and their Government behaves with integrity.
Media contact: Gino Luglietti - 0401 119 794
21 October 2015 - The decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Police Special Unit not to prosecute the CLP’s Foundation 51 for breaches of the Electoral Act despite saying there is a “prima facie case and reasonable prospect of conviction” is a savage blow to the foundations of an open, transparent and fair system of democracy and justice in the Northern Territory.
“The DPP and the Police must immediately explain why fundamental breaches of the law will not be prosecuted. They must explain in whose interest they think it is not to prosecute,” said Michael Gunner.
“Territorians expect that when an organisation breaks the law, whether it is big or small, like the government, the CLP or anyone, a prosecution will follow.
“In fact, it is in the interest of the public to ensure that these sorts of prosecutions do take place, not the reverse.
Mr Gunner said that the proper functioning of political parties under the Electoral Act is critical to the proper functioning of democracy in the Territory.
“It is evident that the CLP’s Foundation 51 has not abided by this process and Territorians will want them appropriately punished for that,” said Michael Gunner.
“A failure to prosecute these breaches sends an appalling signal to the community. To publically state it is not in the interests of Territorians must be explained and explained now.”
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie said today the Chief Minister must end the cover up on CLP slush fund Foundation 51 and finally tell Territorians the truth about its shady operations.
Adam Giles has persistently denied that there is any relationship between the CLP and Foundation 51 – but this is not true.
In the Legislative Assembly on 7 May 2014 Adam Giles said “There is no direct connection between Foundation 51 and the Party.”
“But late funding disclosure returns lodged with the NT Electoral Commission indicate the CLP received hundreds of thousands of dollars of support from Foundation 51.
“The Chief Minister is a member of the CLP Management Committee and it is inconceivable he did not know about Foundation 51 donations to the CLP,” Ms Lawrie said.
A leaked email from Foundation 51 Director Graeme Lewis to then CLP President Braedon Early indicates that as long ago as November 2012 the CLP Executive Committee was aware of the extent of the financial support Foundation 51was providing to the CLP.
But this financial support was not disclosed as required by the Electoral Act until the CLP was pressured do so by leaked emails, questions in Parliament from the Labor Opposition and media scrutiny.
In the email Graeme Lewis stated “Like you, I will be mortified if this information becomes widely known. It must be closely held for obvious reasons.”
And in an email on 26 March 2014 to the Chief Minister, Graeme Lewis said that “He (the Chief Minister) and I have on many occasions discussed the matter of the Foundation and he is well disposed to having the Foundation continue its activity.”
"The CLP is adopting a deliberate strategy to distance itself from the Foundation 51 but Territorians will see through this deception” Ms Lawrie said.
“The Chief Minister should tell Territorians and the Legislative Assembly the truth about Foundation 51 and stop the deception.”
Foundation 51 is being investigated by the Australian and Northern Territory Electoral Commissions and the NT Police.
Media Contact: Sonia Peters 0437 762 881
Opposition Leader, Delia Lawrie, today called on the Member for Blain, Nathan Barrett, to fully disclose all details surrounding the $10,000 loan he received from Foundation 51 Director, Graeme Lewis.
Ms Lawrie said Territorians deserved to know the truth following conflicting public comments between Mr Barrett and Mr Lewis over the payment, with Mr Barrett saying he accepted the $10,000 loan from Mr Lewis – a man he says he had never met before - while Mr Lewis is reported as saying: “he was a friend of mine ….I knew him quite well”.
According to an NT News report today, Mr Barrett said the terms of the loan were: “If you win, pay it back as soon as you can. If you don’t win, we’ll call it a day and you know, I lost 10 grand – which I thought was pretty good of him but I had actually never met him before that.”
Ms Lawrie said that in the interest of transparency and accountability Mr Barrett owes a full explanation of all the details of the loan to residents of Blain and the Northern Territory Parliament.
He needs to answer the following questions:
Who was the mutual friend and party member who introduced Mr Barrett to Mr Lewis?
On what day was the offer of the $10,000 made?
On what day did Mr Barrett accept the Loan?
Was a loan contract drawn up, and if so, will he publicly release it?
When did he actually receive the loan?
When did he repay the loan?
Ms Lawrie said that these revelations about a $10,000 loan were extraordinary.
“Has any other member of the CLP parliamentary team received a donation or loan from Graeme Lewis or Foundation 51?” Ms Lawrie asked.
“The Chief Minister Adam Giles needs to come out of hiding and demand that his Parliamentary Secretary reveal all details.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Labor MLA, Lauren Moss, today renewed the Opposition’s call for the formation of an ICAC style body in the Territory.
“An ICAC in the Territory would be the independent watchdog and would restore Territorians confidence in Government, which includes the Police force,” Ms Moss said.
“This latest saga has left Territorians with questions about the integrity of the Territory’s decision makers.
“Compounding this issue is the lack of confidence Territorians have in the CLP Government in the midst of its own Foundation 51 controversy.
“It is clear that the Territory is in need of an independent body that could swiftly stamp out any issues afflicting Territory decision makers.”
Ms Moss said in the current absence of an ICAC Territorians have no choice but to accept Adam Giles’ “word”.
“In that spirit the Chief Minister, Adam Giles, must answer questions about when he became aware of the former Police Commissioner’s conflict of interest – before or after he gave the Police portfolio to the Deputy Chief Minister?”
29 December 2014
Giles needs to explain Foundation 51 donations
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability Natasha Fyles today called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to explain why the CLP hid hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations.
Ms Fyles said the CLP's Foundation 51 scandal was deepening with the latest disclosures that it received significant donations from property developers that have only now come to light.
New disclosures to the Australian Electoral Commission by former CLP fundraiser Graeme Lewis now expose Foundation 51 as a financial entity directly supporting CLP election campaigns.
“Incredibly CLP President Jason Newman is still in denial about the role of Foundation 51 and legal obligations to report election funding, saying that Graeme Lewis’ new disclosure does not prove Foundation 51 was ever an associated entity obliged to report CLP election funding.”
“Mr Lewis himself has said he made the new disclosures based on legal advice that he should do so, in the face of election funding inquiries by both the Australian and Northern Territory Electoral Commissions.”
"The CLP shamelessly deny that Foundation 51 operated as an Associated Entity while its Director Graeme Lewis admits that's how the slush fund operated," Ms Fyles said.
A November 2012 email from Foundation 51 Director Graeme Lewis to then CLP President Braedon Earley has also highlighted that contributors to Foundation 51 were clearly ‘aware’ and ‘did stipulate’ that funds raised would be ‘devoted to NT elections’ and other CLP support.
In another email, dated 26 March 2014, Mr Lewis also said it would be a shame to replace Foundation 51 with ‘garage sales’ to provide ‘adequate resources’. Mr Lewis said “I have made the Chief Minister aware of this probability, much to his concern”.
That same email also noted that “The Foundation has already contributed significantly towards the activities of the Blain by-election.”
"Only a full Inquiry under the Inquiries Act with an independent former or current Judge will get to the bottom of the relationship between the Country Liberal Party, Foundation 51 and the CLP government” Ms Fyles said.
"We have a serious stench surrounding this CLP Government when their own former Treasurer admitted that political donations opened his door."
In October this year, just a day after the Giles government shamelessly voted down a Legislative Assembly motion for an independent inquiry into Northern Territory political donations, former Deputy Chief Minster Dave Tollner told ABC radio that he worked on the basis that ‘your donation will open my door if you ever need to talk to me about something or other’.
"If Adam Giles has nothing to hide then he would immediately instigate an inquiry with judicial powers," Ms Fyles said.
"Instead we're discovering a political donations scandal played out between Christmas and New Year when the CLP could hope Territorians are distracted by the holiday period.
"This is a disgrace and it's time we uncovered the full links between Foundation 51 and the CLP Government."
Shadow Attorney-General, Michael Gunner, today used Parliamentary Question Time to challenge Chief Minister, Adam Giles, on his repeated denials of links between CLP slush fund Foundation 51 and the CLP Government.
“Adam Giles continues to deny links between the CLP Government and slush fund Foundation 51 despite the mounting evidence, including leaked emails, to the contrary,” Mr Gunner said.
“Today’s revelations in The Australian expose that Foundation 51 Director, Graeme Lewis, has recently lodged an electoral return disclosing contributions to the CLP’s election campaigns and admitted Foundation 51 was an associated entity of the CLP.
“Mr Lewis also admitted to a conflict of interest in being, until recently, the CLP’s Treasurer and Chair of the Land Development Corporation,” Mr Gunner said.
“In retrospect … I would probably have to answer that there was a conflict of interest,” Mr Lewis was reported as saying.
In a leaked email from Adam Giles to Graeme Lewis the Chief Minister writes: “Graeme. Let’s have a chat when you get back… I want to ensure there was no real or perceived conflict of interest with any dealing you may or may not have”.
In reply, Mr Lewis emailed to Adam Giles: ‘I really need to talk one to one with you about all this … The real issue is that, given all that is happening in the CLP, even before this last fiasco, it’s clear my time is up”.
In May this year Foundation 51 director Graeme Lewis was running a draft press release past Chief Minister Adam Giles for his vetting,” Mr Gunner said.
“Former Treasurer Dave Tollner has admitted that political donations ‘will open my door’ and when asked by the ABC isn’t that paying for political favours, Dave Tollner’s response was ‘you could put it that way I suppose’.
“Territorians deserve assurance that the CLP Government is operating in an accountable and transparent manner.
“Only an independent inquiry into political donations can provide that assurance - what have they got to hide?”
Opposition Whip Michael Gunner says the Opposition would be holding the Government to account in this week’s Parliamentary sittings over its litany of broken promises on the Foundation 51 Inquiry, asset sales and the cuts to police numbers.
“Territorians are fed up with the CLP backflips that go to the heart of a failure of good governance,” Mr Gunner said.
“Chief Minister Adam Giles deceived the Member for Nelson into believing an Inquiry into political donations and Foundation 51 would be held and then attacked him when he was accused of being a con man.
“Leaked emails add to a growing mountain of evidence that slush fund Foundation 51 is directly linked to the CLP and has contributed significantly to funding election campaigns, and Adam Giles was keen to shut down any kind of inquiry which could have revealed serious breaches of the NT Electoral Act,” Mr Gunner said.
“The CLP clearly has something to hide because the full blown independent inquiry into political donations has been gutted to be nothing more than a watered-down analysis of legislation by his own Department of Chief Minister.”
Mr Gunner also said the Government’s double talk on asset sales was further proof of its deception.
“Under questioning from the Opposition last week Adam Giles admitted he has been considering the sale of TIO since March,” Mr Gunner said.
“Territorians deserve to have a say in whether they want their assets sold given the CLP had no privatisation plans at the last election.
“Labor is calling on Adam Giles to halt his planned asset sales and put the new-found policies to either a referendum or the 2016 general election.”
Mr Gunner said nothing was sacred under the CLP who showed they are tearing up election commitments.
“Police numbers have shrunk by 60 in the past 12 months, on top of the Government’s broken promise to employ 120 new police,” Mr Gunner said.
“With violent crime running at record levels in the past two years, we need more Police on the beat and not another broken promise.”
Media Contact: Michael Gleeson 0400 096 924
The Leader of the Opposition today moved to censure the Chief Minister, Adam Giles, for his actions to cover up an inquiry into political donations, the details around a $1million payment to the Tiwi Land Council his plans to sell public assets.
“The Chief Minister has repeatedly denied links between CLP slush fund Foundation 51 and the CLP yet emails leaked show $200,000 was used to fund CLP election campaigns,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Territorians are left wondering what has the CLP got to hide after they used their numbers in Parliament to prevent an Inquiry into political donations?
“The dust had barely settled on the Casuarina by-election before Adam Giles was taking out full page advertisements spruiking the sale and long term lease of the Territory Insurance Office and the Darwin Port.
“If Adam Giles and the CLP Government had nothing to hide and were confident that their decisions to sell public assets were in the best interest of Territorians, then why were they not upfront with Casuarina residents before they went to the polls last weekend?”
Ms Lawrie said the CLP Government had sunk to new lows these Sittings and questions about Foundation 51 political donations, the $1million Tiwi deal and public asset sales would be pursued in the interest of integrity and transparency.
“Territorians deserve a Government that operates with transparency and accountability,” Ms Lawrie said.
“In Government, Labor will establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“When challenged to establish an ICAC today Adam Giles ruled it out. When challenged to establish an inquiry into political donations in the last four years, Adam Giles ruled it out. What has the CLP got to hide?”