April 16, 2010
VICTORIAN businesses will hand over tens of thousands of dollars to the Liberal Party today in exchange for exclusive access to its most senior federal and state politicians, including leaders Tony Abbott and Ted Baillieu.
In an event likely to reignite debate over the ethics of political fund-raising, businesses that buy their way into today’s function in Melbourne have been offered private briefings with members of the state and federal Liberal shadow cabinets.
The event will raise cash for the party’s campaign war chest ahead of this year’s federal and state elections, and marks the start of the Liberal State Council meeting, to be addressed by Mr Abbott and Mr Baillieu.
Both leaders yesterday refused to discuss the cash-for-access gathering, which will be a key attraction at today’s Business Observers’ Forum at the Melbourne offices of accountancy firm Ernst & Young.
An invitation to the event, obtained by The Age, says a registration fee of $4000 per individual – a business sending five people would pay $20,000 – entitles companies to ”private briefings” with federal and state shadow ministers of their choice. ”You will have the opportunity to benefit from individual briefings with federal and state shadow ministers as well as the chance to share ideas on policy,” it says.
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