Lowly family uses ‘loophole’ to donate $550,000 to Liberal Party

Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) gave the green light to billionaires against their own rules of the Loewy family $550,000 in a secret “donation” to the Liberal Party through an obscure subsidiary.

Recognizing the astonishing fact in favor of the Lowy family, the Election Commission greenlights political “donors” who hide their identities by funneling money to political parties and candidates through little-known affiliates. issued.

As revealed last month, the Loewy family of shopping center tycoons made a $550,000 “donation” to the Liberal Party just weeks after last year’s federal election, through a company with no website, no address and no employees. rice field.

The ‘donation’ was one of the largest in the country, from one of Australia’s most prominent business families. Orixium Investments Limited.

Our research shows that Oryxium Investments Limited is part of an extensive web of affiliated companies controlled by the Lowy family, Lowy Family Groupor LFG.

However, a signed legal “donation disclosure” form, when asked “Do you operate or do business under any other name?” answer ‘no’ Given.

Part of the structure of the company’s Lowy Family Group (LFG) web (Source: The Klaxon).

donation disclosure form state:

“It is a crime to submit a false or misleading declaration.”

However, after multiple approaches from independents, AEC aAustralia has waived “disclosure”.

told The Independent aAustralia “Disclosure in this case is still being made.” because there is no “legal requirement” Including “other business name” information despite the requirement set forth in the AEC Donor Disclosure Form.

Nevertheless, AEC Official Rules i.e. this information “must disclose”.

Page 25 of the AEC Financial Disclosure Guide for Annual Donors States Donors Must Disclose “Other Names of Business”.

for the organization, physical state, “The following information must be disclosed upon return: Other business name”.

It continues:

“Part 1(a): Organizations must list all other names under which they do business.”

When asked whether it would be inappropriate, if not technically “illegal”, for companies not to do so because of this little-known loophole, the AEC declined to comment.

“The Disclosure Statement has a section to record ‘Other Business Names’ and ‘Affiliated Entities.'” AEC spokesperson said Evan Ekin-Smith.

He added:

“There is no legal requirement for an entity to provide those details in returns. So disclosure in this case is still going on.”

Jeffrey Watson SCDirector of the Center for Public Integrity and a former NSW Court of Appeals Judge, told the Independent. aAustralia $550,000 “a lot of money”.

“This is too much money for one contributor to contribute to the campaign.” He said.

'Dark money' still distorts Australian democracy

Watson SC also tells us:

“It is the kind of money that can influence politicians and political parties.

The AEC has been heavily criticized for not doing its job and not enforcing the law.

In September 2020, the country’s premier auditor, the Australian National Audit Office (Anao), found:

“AEC does not act appropriately on identified compliance violations” [and] Ineffective use of executive powers.

In its 84-page final report, Anao said:

“The purpose of the financial disclosure scheme is to preserve the integrity of the electoral system, maintain public confidence in the electoral process, and reduce the potential for undue influence and corruption.”

nevertheless reportoverseen by the Australian Auditor General, Grant Hehirfound the AEC “Managing Disclosure Schemes” was only “partially valid” and the AEC “I am not in a position to guarantee that the disclosure statement is accurate and complete.”.

ANAO reviewed disclosure forms over four fiscal years. “Spans two federal elections and 11 by-elections.”.

that found “We didn’t get all the returns we needed.”; there was “limited analysis of revenues earned”; and there was “evidence that some returns were incomplete”.

ANAO accounts for more than one-fifth of its annual revenue “filed after the statutory deadline”.

that found AEC got 5,882 “Annual and Election Results” From 2015 to 2020, we have completed just 110 reviews.

Of the 110 reviewed, 78% had large “Fix Needed”.

“However, rather than increasing scrutiny, the AEC has significantly reduced the number of planned reviews, narrowed the scope of planned reviews, and reduced the value of the transactions under test.” Annao Said.

report found:

“There is insufficient evidence that annual and election results are accurate and complete.”

The AEC is the agency tasked with cracking down on the “Foreign Donor” law introduced in 2019 to curb foreign interference.

The AEC is overseen by the Electoral Commission. Tom Rogers, was appointed by the Abbott federal government in 2014. In December 2019, he was appointed to another five-year term by the Morrison government.

Anton Lever signing on behalf of LFG (Source: ASICs).

Surprisingly, in response to ANAO’s findings, the AEC not only said it would not take the major steps ANAO said it would take, but also refused to admit there was a problem.

Rogers has repeatedly refused to answer questions when contacted by The Independent aAustralia last month.

Last fiscal year, he received a taxpayer salary of $598,624.

Donation Disclosure Form Status “Submitting a False or Misleading Return” teeth Violations under Section 137.1 of the Act criminal law.

We asked whether any action would be taken against Oryxium Investments Limited for falsely declaring that it does not do business under any other name.

Rogers and the AEC declined to comment.

Anthony Crane Investigative journalist and editor of .Klaxon‘. You can follow him on Twitter @Anthony_Klan.

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Lowly family uses ‘loophole’ to donate $550,000 to Liberal Party

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