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Liberal Party's Greenfields "loan" to be scrutinised by Federal Opposition

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Media Release

Senator John FaulknerLeader of the Opposition in the SenateShadow Minister for Public Administration and Government Services LIBERAL PARTY'S GREENFIELDS "LOAN" TO BE SCRUTINISED BY FEDERAL OPPOSITION

The Shadow Minister for Public Administration and Government Services, Senator John Faulkner, said that the $4.65 million "loan" from The Greenfields Foundation was John Howard's attempt to sidestep public disclosure of party political donations.

The "loan" breaches the spirit of the Electoral Act.

If Mr Howard is not seeking to sidestep the public disclosure of donations he should disclose the nature of this $4.6 million "loan". He must answer the following concerns: When will the loan be repaid? How will it be repaid? How is the finding secured? And are there any concessional interest rate arrangements in the financing? What approach has the AEC made

to the Liberal Party to ensure proper public scrutiny?

"It may well be that this affair is extremely innocent, but the public and Opposition need an -explanation.

"This "loan" sidesteps any form of public scrutiny of what is a huge sum of money from as yet unknown Liberal donors," Senator Faulkner said.

"The public has a right to know who these donors are to keep the business of Government transparent."

Mr Howard should be seen to be maintaining the honesty and integrity of Government, by disclosing the real nature of the loan.

"Unfortunately, this loophole means the Electoral Commission cannot by law force the Liberal Party to disclose the donors.

"The Opposition will be follow up this loophole later this month in Senate Estimates. I will also recommend to Caucus that the loophole is closed off," Senator Faulkner said.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Colin Campbell 0419 634 919 FEBRUARY 3 1998