John Blunt: “I mean, we have got business interests, as well, so we want good governance. We want to see things happen in this state.”
Matthew Abraham: “You want to be looked after, too?”
John Blunt: “Yeah, we want to make our projects happen, that’s for sure, but, you know, that’s a part of the way the system – you know, politics – works here.”
(891 ABC Radio, 2 May 2007)
This statement by Chief Executive of the Makris Group, John Blunt, about why the Makris Group had donated more than $180,000 to Premier Mike Rann’s Labor Party rings alarm bells on the controversial issue of the link between the Rann Government and political donations.
“Whilst in recent years a number of business people have privately raised concerns and expressed similar views about this issue, Mr Blunt is the first business person to raise this issue publicly,” Liberal Member of the Legislative Council, Rob Lucas, said today.
“Mr Blunt’s statement makes it clear that some business people have the view that their business interests and projects will have a better chance of succeeding if they make significant donations to Mr Rann’s Labor Party.
“It is unacceptable to good government and a danger to democracy if businesses have the view they can help their business interests by making big donations to Mr Rann’s Labor Party.
“Mr Rann must ensure greater transparency and accountability on this issue by revealing more details about SA Progressive Business and ALP Holdings Pty Ltd.
“Without prejudging any particular issue, Mr Rann should also now support the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption, so if there is anyone who has concerns and wants an issue investigated then there would be an appropriate investigative body to go to.
“Mr Rann should remember the promise he made in 2002 to South Australians:
“We will lift standards of honesty, accountability and transparency in Government.
“Secrecy can provide the cover behind which waste, wrong priorities, dishonesty and serious abuse of public office may occur.
“A good Government does not fear scrutiny or openness.””