Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dare We Call it Whitehousegate

The strange case of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's daughter and her scholarship to the Whitehouse Institute has all sorts of connections. [Disclaimer: No inference of wrongdoing should be drawn from any of this information.]

Some background from the Guardian Australia:
Tony Abbott’s daughter Frances received a “chairman’s scholarship” for a degree costing more than $60,000 from the Whitehouse Institute of Design where an Abbott donor sits as chairman on the board of governors, Guardian Australia can reveal.

The revelation raises questions for the prime minister over whether the scholarship should have been declared on his interests register.
Tony Abbott's daughter was given scholarship for $60,000 design degree
Les Taylor, the chairman of the Whitehouse Institute of Design who recommended Frances Abbott to be only the second recipient of the 'chairman's scholarship', has made donations of more than $20,000 to the Liberal party
Liberal donor personally recommended Tony Abbott's daughter for scholarship
The new New Matilda has also been doing some digging:
Assurances by the Prime Minister that a $60,000 scholarship awarded to his daughter Frances on the basis of merit have been contradicted by testimony and documents obtained by New Matilda.
I found these links with a web search or two:

On 7 September 2011 The Green’s Democracy4Sale project made a Supplementary submission to the inquiry into the funding of political parties and election campaigns claiming:
Tenko Management Pty Ltd made a $10,708 contribution to Tony Abbott’s Warringah FEC on 6 September 2004. This money included a total of $10,250 comprised of donations each over the NSW disclosure threshold current at the time from Gary Cohen using IBA Health’s Sydney address, John Roth using the address of Henroth Pty Ltd, Les Taylor of Manly, Mark Lochtenberg of Mosman and RC Corbett of Mosman.
In 2002 Tenko contributed $1,338 to the Liberal Party candidate for the Georges River State electorate, Joanne Maire McCafferty, in the 2003 New South Wales election.

In 2012 the Sydney Morning Herald had also come across the mysterious Tenko Management in a related context:
THE NSW Liberal Party has discovered more than $200,000 worth of donations received during the last financial year that it had not previously revealed to the Australian Electoral Commission.

…Also amending its records with the electoral commission is Servcorp, a strong supporter of the Liberal Party and the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott.

…In its original declaration, Servcorp listed donations to the Liberal Party itself in three states as well as to a company called Tenko Management Pty Ltd, based in Sydney, which was not listed as a donor or associated entity of the Liberal Party.
Incidentally, the Hon Mark Anthony James Vaile, former National Party leader and deputy prime minister is a non-executive director of Servcorp Limited.

Investigating the murky area of political donors and donations is difficult enough but is compounded when the paper trail involves handwritten documents. No wonder investigative journalism is a dying trade.

Update: It appears that the managing director of Tenko Management in 2009 worked for the NSW Liberal Party in Western Sydney. Finding out his name is your homework. He has a fine Tory pedigree.

This post is part of a series about political donations in Australia:

Foundation 51's Cosy Links with the Country Liberal Party

Dare We Call it Whitehousegate

In search of slush funds and off-books moneys in the NSW Liberal Party

Townsville Money Trail: Political Donors in Queensland's Deep North

Nathan Tinkler & Co: Political Donors Anonymous

Sphere: Related Content


Jim KABLE said...

Entitlement: thy name is LNP chutzpah!

Bravo on the investigative uncoverings, Mr Rennie!

Kevin Rennie said...

Thank Mr. Google. Didn't have to leave my desk.

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