Faceless Brewers and other threats to democracy

This one is for Campbell Newman;

A PROPERTY developer who made seven separate donations to Campbell Newman’s city hall re-election fund was also conducting business from a property owned by the lord mayor’s family, Anna Bligh has alleged.

The Queensland premier called a snap press conference in Brisbane this afternoon to reveal one of Philip Usher’s companies, Pucsla No.8 Pty Ltd, had as its principle place of business a property in Spring Hill, owned by Mr Newman’s in-laws.

– The Australian, March 15, 2012

… and for Clive Palmer:

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has accused the United States government of funding environmental group Greenpeace via the CIA to undermine Australia’s coal mining sector.

Mr Palmer made the extraordinary claim over Greenpeace’s plan to use the court system to tie up coal mining applications.

He is angry at Greenpeace’s plan to use lawyers to thwart future coal mining projects and claims funding is coming from US environmental charity the Rockefeller Foundation.

[..]

He then picked out veteran Greens campaigner Drew Hutton.

“Drew Hutton is a tool of the US government and Rockefeller, and so are the Greens; everything they say. It’s as simple as that,” Mr Palmer said.

“I think the Greens in this coming state election, all their candidates should resign if they are being funded by an offshore political power,” Mr Palmer said.

“It is tantamount to treason. Something needs to be done about it.”

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, March 20, 2012

We have a contemporary politician under an accusation of dubious donations, and a mining magnate alleging that local political parties and activist organisations are being influenced by overseas interests. Let’s see if this has happened before.

FACELESS BREWERS

Looking in Trove, we find numerous accusations of donations to political parties from brewers. They come from members of the temperance movement, the implication being that the donations are intended to forestall legislation against the alcohol consumption. Here’s an example of 1924 allegation against the Australian Labor Party.

Image

BREWERS AND LABOR PARTY

MR. GARDEN REPEATS CHARGE AND ASKS FOR COMMISSION

Sydney, Wednesday.

Mr. Jack Garden, secretary of the Sydney Labor Council, reiterates his charges against the A.L.P. that the brewers in the past have given a liberal donation to the Labor party funds. Mr. Garden now asks for a Royal Commission or a Parliamentary Select Committee to inquire into the matter. Mr. Garden is in possession of information which is likely to give the executive officials a rude shock, and if dared he will he bound to expose his enemies.

– BREWERS AND LABOR PARTY. (1924, September 17). Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved March 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45902356

If you are an industry out to influence things you’ll want to be truly suspicious and, as alleged here, buy influence with both the major parties. Queensland, 1951:

Image

LINK WITH LIQUOR TRADE DENIED BY PARTY LEADERS

BRISBANE, October 23.— A denial that they received “blood money” from liquor interests was made by political leaders to-day. Mr. R. Edmunds, Queensland Temperance League field secretary had claimed all parties received it.

The Acting Premier (Mr. V. C. Gair) said he had no knowledge of his government getting a dona- tion from a brewery or the Licensed Victuallers’ Association. The Opposition Leader (Mr. G. F. Nicklin) said his party did not get donations from any brewery or brewery interests. In fact it never accepted any donations which had any strings attached to them. The Liberal Party Leader (Mr. T. A. Hiley) Mid it was a most “intemperate statement from a temperance man.” He added he had no knowledge of any donation to hie party from the liquor trede. Mr. Edmunds had been in Queensland only a few months. He sadly misunderstood the position of the Liberal Party, or he would not make such a “stupid statement” he said.

– LINK WITH LIQUOR TRADE DENIED BY PARTY LEADERS. (1951, October 24). Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63397044

… and of course such allegations will be met by unified response from those parties.

REDS!

There are a huge number of fascinating incidents in our political history that relate to the Communist Party. They might stem from the actions of the party itself, but also from the actions of other groups to suppress, ban and harass it. Having any connection (political or financial) to the Communist party was politically devastating during the Cold War. Let’s have a look at an scandal that blew up in 1953.

CHALLENGE TO LABOR PARTY

CANBERRA – Mr. M’Colm (Lib., Qld.) last night challenged the Labor Party to state publicly, whether it had received a £13,000 donation from the Communist Party during the anti Communist referendum campaign.

Speaking in the House of Representatives, Mr. M’Colm asked whether it was true that Mr. Beazley (Lab., W.A.) had recently made a statement that the Federal secretary of the Labor Party (Senator Kenelly) had received £13,000 from a man named Hill, the Victorian secretary of the Australian Communist Party.

He said the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) should make a statement to clear these matters up.

Mr. Calwell declared the Labor Party had never received any money from the Communist Party.

– CHALLENGE TO LABOR PARTY. (1953, December 2).Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved March 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69503133

Various Labor members and officials go on to leak about each other, the scandal creating a mess of articles. No doubt this was an expression in the media of the tension within the ALP which would go on to lead to the DLP’s formation in 1955. Unfortunately for the Menzies government, there were accusations that Menzies was informed of the donation by Labor members but did nothing about it.

RED DONATION TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

I’ll end with this amusing article in the Charleville Times.

THE COMMUNIST PARTY

Nice Donation to F.G.

The Communist Party has contributed £1300 to Federal revenue as a result of the election.

The party stood 27 candidates for the House of Representatives and 25 for the Senate.

Latest figures show that all 52 will forfeit their deposits of £25.

To save the £25 deposit House of Representatives candidates must poll more than one-fifth of the total votes of the successful candidate.

In the Senate each candidate must gain more than one-tenth of the average vote of the win- ning candidates.

The Communist vote in six Queensland, nine N. S. W., seven Victorian, three South Australian, and two Western Australian House of Representatives seats was only a small fraction of the winners’ votes.

SENATE TROUNCING

In the Senate six Queensland, sis N. S. W., six Victorian, three West Australian, three Tasmanian, and one South Australian Communists polled so badly that they could not average the necessary one-tenth of likely winning candidates.

No Communist candidate in Queensland is likely to win more than 2,000 votes for a House of Representatives seat.  Every candidate is well below the necessary one-fifth.

– THE COMMUNIST PARTY. (1951, May 10). The Charleville Times (Brisbane, Qld. : 1883 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved March 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79311809

No doubt the Communists would have been unhappy at their accidental donation to their oppressors.

I found numerous articles covering petty bribery – bus owners attempting to corruptly purchase routes and so on. Despite some effort I could find no prior accusation of CIA influence over Australian political parties. The specifics of Mr. Palmer’s accusation are novel and original, but implications of undue influence in Australian politics are not at all news!

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One Response to Faceless Brewers and other threats to democracy

  1. Keith says:

    *snorts* ”intemperate statement from a temperance man.”

    Nice work, sir, nice work! :D

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