This advice sets out the AEC's conclusion in relation to the matters described below:
Whether there was any failure by the National Party of Australia (Queensland) to disclose free flights made to Mr Lawrence Springborg.
The Australian newspaper of 20 February 2009 made a number of allegations about Mr Springborg accepting free flights from various organisations and businessmen.
Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
Subsection 314AB of the Act requires that the agent of the party must submit a return on which must be set out the total amount received, and the total amount paid during the financial year and the total outstanding amount as at the end of the financial year.
This inquiry has taken 3 months to complete. For this matter, the AEC corresponded with: Mr Michael O'Dwyer, State Director of the National Party of Australia (Queensland); Ms Mary Carroll, Party Secretary of the Liberal National Party; and Mr Terry Wood, Party Agent of the Australian Labor Party (Queensland).
Of the flights in question, a number of them relate to the 2008/09 financial year for which there is no disclosure requirement at this point in time. Of the remaining flights, all but one relate to trips made by Mr Springborg in his capacity as a Queensland State MP and therefore are not required to be disclosed by the National Party of Australia (Queensland). One flight was required to be disclosed, and the AEC was advised that the value of this flight was included in the total receipts disclosed in the 2007/08 annual return. As the value of this flight was less than the prevailing disclosure threshold of >$10 500 no further disclosure was required.
Date: 5 June 2009