You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

NT Labor vows to probe donations laws

AAP logoAAP 16/08/2016 Neda Vanovac

An elected Labor Northern Territory government would hold a full judicial inquiry into political donation laws, it says.

Labor spokeswoman Natasha Fyles announced on Tuesday that the inquiry would look at "all political donations in the NT" and would provide reforms to increase transparency.

"We've been listening to strong community concern that Territorians don't have confidence that presently the public interest comes first before private interests in government and policy," Ms Fyles told reporters in Darwin.

"We believe it's important to re-establish that integrity into our system."

The Country Liberals government was forced to agree to hold an inquiry before backtracking last year, Ms Fyles said.

She said there were still many questions about Foundation 51, an alleged CLP slush fund which kept its finances secret for years until under pressure in 2015 it was forced to admit it was an "associated entity" of the party.

Director Graeme Lewis then filed years' worth of back returns totalling more than $700,000 in payments, including from Darwin property developers.

Although NT Police believed there were potential breaches of the Electoral Act and a reasonable chance of securing a conviction, the director of public prosecutions decided it was not in the public interest to proceed with the case.

But Ms Fyles denied that a donations inquiry would be about scoring political points, after the CLP last year held an investigation into a Labor-Unions NT land deal that claimed the scalp of the former opposition leader Delia Lawrie.

"Absolutely not," she said.

"This is part of restoring confidence within the NT that their government has integrity."

"I don't think Territorians can afford not to have this."

But Chief Minister Adam Giles said the announcement was a "cheap stunt" by an opposition "devoid of real policy ideas".

He said in a statement that the government had committed to establishing an anti-corruption commission.

It would examine a "broad range of issues including the relationship between NT Labor and Harold Nelson Holdings and any other financial entity; also the dodgy Stella Maris (Unions NT land deal) affair and shady underhanded deals between Labor and their union mates", Mr Giles said.

The NT votes on August 27.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon