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TWU extortion and secret donation allegations need judicial inquiry.

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Shadow Special Minister of State Senator Michael Ronaldson has called on the Government to establish a full judicial inquiry into the TWU extortion and hidden donations allegations after the Government refused to answer questions on the issue in the Senate today.

“The allegations of extortion and significant undisclosed donations by the TWU for up to eleven Labor candidates in NSW are extremely serious,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“If these allegations are true they it would appear that the TWU and the NSW Labor Party have systematically sought to flout election laws and use the worst sort of stand-over tactics to extort money from law-abiding businesses.

“The seriousness of these allegations demand that the Prime Minister immediately act to sure-up the community’s faith in Australia’s electoral laws and our entire system of democracy.

The Government’s refusal to establish an inquiry into the allegations follows its refusal to support the most comprehensive review of campaign financing since federation when it was passed by the Senate last week.

“The Greens, Democrats and Family First all supported the Coalition’s proposal to establish a comprehensive inquiry into political donations and campaign financing.

“For some reason the Government refused to support the comprehensive inquiry.

“It would appear that we now know why the Labor Party refused to support the Coalition’s comprehensive inquiry into political donations including union donations and campaigning.

“The Prime Minister has quickly established reputation for setting up inquiries at every opportunity.

“This is one opportunity the Prime Minister must not miss. He should immediately set up a judicial inquiry to remove the blight on Australia’s democracy for which it appears the TWU and NSW Labor Party are responsible.

ENDS S17/08 17 March 2008 Media contact: Ross Fox, 0422 583 117