Statement from Tony Nutt, Federal Director of the Liberal Party of Australia
The Australian National Audit Office has today released its response to correspondence it received in June this year from the then Shadow Special Minister of State, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP.
Mr O’Connor had asked the Auditor-General to investigate the operation of Parakeelia Pty Ltd (Parakeelia), a company which is owned by the Liberal Party of Australia and which provides electoral roll and data management services.
In his correspondence Mr O’Connor said questions had been raised “as to whether the arrangement with Parakeelia is a construct designed to manipulate the taxpayer-funded parliamentary entitlements framework to generate political donations for the Liberal Party.”
Mr O’Connor stated that: “a transaction has been entered into which ultimately converts taxpayer-funded parliamentary entitlements into political donations to the Liberal Party.”
Mr O’Connor’s correspondence followed public statements by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shorten, who described Parakeelia as a “scam” and said: “This looks like a Liberal Party washing machine turning taxpayer dollars into Liberal Party profits.” (Bill Shorten, doorstop, 15 June 2016)
The Auditor-General’s response to Mr O’Connor clearly states:
“In conducting the review, no evidence was provided to the Australian National Audit Office
(ANAO) that the arrangements contravene electoral and parliamentary entitlement
frameworks or that Parakeelia donated any profits from the sale of Feedback software to the Liberal Party. Further, the financial transactions reported to the Australian Electoral
Commission between Parakeelia and the Liberal Party indicated a net cost to the Liberal
Party from 2000-01 to 2014-15.”
The Auditor-General’s response also states: “The ANAO's analysis of Parakeelia's financial transactions from 2009-10 to 2014-15 has not identified any donations to the Liberal Party.”
Various transactions were analysed and no adverse findings have been made.
Given that the Auditor-General has now exposed the Opposition’s public statements about Parakeelia to be completely false, Mr Shorten and Mr O’Connor should withdraw and apologise for their statements.
It should also be noted that Mr Shorten’s description of Parakeelia as a “washing machine” came despite the fact that the Australian Labor Party’s nominated software provider as at 28 January 2014 was the ALP itself (see: http://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/FOI14-11-document.pdf).