Labor donors in court bid to gag Greens MP | The Australian

DEVELOPERS who donated more than $2 million to Labor are taking a Greens MP to court to prevent the release of correspondence.

The correspondence was with the Rann government, over the expansion of housing in the Adelaide Hills.

South Australian Greens MP Mark Parnell said yesterday the state Ombudsman had ordered the documents be released but that five developers seeking the rezoning of land for a controversial housing development had taken District Court action to keep the correspondence secret.

“When the government clearly goes against the wishes of the local council and residents, surely the community has a right to know why,” Mr Parnell said yesterday.

“Since the middle of last year I have been chasing under the Freedom of Information Act correspondence from the group of five developers to Planning Minister Paul Holloway.

“The Planning Department rejected the request, the developers are desperate to keep these documents a secret, but the Ombudsman disagreed because it was in the public interest.”

Mr Holloway said he was approached by a consortium of five property developers to rezone the farmland and in parliament named the organisations as Urban Pacific, the Fairmont Group, Walker Corporation, Land Services and Daycorp.

Mr Parnell said the developers had separately donated more than $2m to the Labor Party over the past 10 years, including $179,500 directly to state Labor.

He said donations to state Labor since 2000 had included $25,000 from the Walker Corporation and $119,450 from the Fairmont Group.

“The toxic combination of donations, lobbyists, favoured consultants and direct approaches by developers to the relevant minister raises many questions,” Mr Parnell said.

But Mr Holloway, who is in China on a government trip, yesterday refused to respond to Mr Parnell’s concerns. “There is no government response as the case doesn’t involve us,” a spokesman said.


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