This advice sets out the Australian Electoral Commission's (AEC's) conclusions in relation to the matters described below.
Mr Gavin O'Connor, the former member for Corio, in a statement released on Thursday, 18 October 2007 alleged that the official Labor Party candidate in the 2007 federal election (Mr Richard Marles), and subsequent current member for Corio, had 'been involved in secretly raising tens of thousands of dollars in undeclared political donations'.
The former Special Minister of State Gary Nairn first raised the matter in a letter dated 18 October 2007, to the Electoral Commissioner.
Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act).
This enquiry has taken 13 months to complete.
In his statement Mr O'Connor did not mention Mr Marles by name and did not provide any evidence to support his allegations.
The AEC amongst its website advices has published a policy titled 'AEC Policy on Consideration of Financial Disclosure Matters';, which states –
'If evidence is not available to the AEC that would allow it to reach a conclusion that reasonable grounds exist for pursuing a matter, then no further action will be taken by the AEC. If however, the AEC receives further evidence in relation to a matter, that evidence will be considered to determine if the matter may be pursued.'
The AEC reviewed contemporary media reports and election returns for the 2007 federal election, as well as interviewed Mr O'Connor on two occasions and was not able to identify any evidence to pursue the matter further.
After reviewing the available evidence the AEC concluded no 'reasonable grounds existed' to pursue the allegations made by Mr O'Connor.
Date: 17 November 2008