Labor pursues Liberals over deleted record of $165,000 donation from Scott Morrison ally

Christopher Knaus
Photograph: James Ross/AAP

Labor will ask for an investigation into how the Liberal party mistakenly disclosed a $165,000 donation from a key Scott Morrison ally and frontrunner for a $1bn government contract.

The opposition will ask the joint standing committee on electoral matters to examine the circumstances of the donation, which was initially disclosed by the Liberals, then removed entirely after questions from the Guardian.

Earlier this month, the Liberal party declared it had received $165,000 from a company named Southern Strategy, a largely inactive political consultancy set up by Scott Briggs, a friend of the prime minister’s, four years ago.

Related: Liberal party claims declaration of a $165k donation by Morrison ally was a mistake

Briggs is also behind a consortium that is in the running for a $1bn government contract to privatise Australia’s visa processing system. Guardian Australia queried the donation and Briggs said his company had never made it, and that the mistake was for the Liberal party to explain.

The Liberal party subsequently deleted it from its records, but is yet to say how it came to erroneously declare a donation from a dormant business that had never donated before, while including its business address and the specific amount of $165,000.

Labor’s Andrew Giles said the matter would be referred to the standing committee because there were “serious questions that still need to be answered”.

“It’s arrogant and offensive for the Liberal party to refuse to explain this $165,000 ‘mistake’,” Giles said. “They’re treating our democracy with contempt.


“Labor will be asking the joint parliamentary committee on electoral matters to have a look at this.

“The case of the $165,000 ‘mistaken’ donation can’t just be swept under the carpet. We need answers.”

The plan to privatise Australia’s visa processing system has been fiercely resisted by Labor and unions. It has hit recent roadblocks and has prompted fears that thousands of jobs will be lost and sensitive private information will be compromised.

The Liberal party was approached for comment.