Right to Life funding of ACT Liberal Party controversy
Sunday August 20th 2006, 10:19 am

funded by ACT RTL?

Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja proposed a private member’s bill to put an end to government sponsored deceptive anti-choice pressure groups operating ‘crisis pregnancy counselling’ centres. Last week, ACT Federal Senator Gary Humphries used his casting vote to veto Stott-Despoja’s bill.

The ACT Liberal Party took a $30,000 sum donation in 2004 from the ACT Right To Life Association, which receives $300,000 per year in federal government funding. The government provides no funding for counselling services which include referral to pregnancy termination clinics as part of their available alternatives.

Most shockingly, the Australian Government has even awarded OA medals to anti-choice activists posing as pregnancy counsellors. I used to have some respect for the OA title- silly me.

Since the fake pregnancy counselling outfits don’t charge for their ‘services,’ they are exempt from Australian truth in advertising laws. Women calling these outfits are told all manner of falsehoods by these alleged counsellors, like ‘abortion causes breast cancer and infertility.’ Women inquiring of these fraudulent counsellors about pregnancy termination have even been told they are “sinners” and “murderers.”

The SMH reports:

A spokesman for Senator Humphries said it was common for many groups to donate to political parties.

“I can assure you he is not swayed by donations, and never has been in 17 years in public life,” he said.

Yeah, sure, OK.

I’d like to own a senator (or two). Maybe I can get a gubmint grant to give away false and misleading information to people in crisis for the necessary dosh to get a senator in my pocket.

Let’s say I believe that chocolate bars cure cancer. If I don’t charge for the advice, I can give away chockie bars to all the poor cancer sufferers who haven’t had any luck with chemotherapy.

Sounds like a pretty good gig if you can get it.

-weez

UPDATE: Mick McNeill comments:

Dear MGK,

The Fairfax article on which this item is based wrongly claims that Senator Humphries received funding from Right to Life during the 2004 Federal election campaign.

The $30,000 referred to was directed to Liberal candidates contesting the 2004 ACT Legislative Assembly election. Senator Humphries did not receive any of this money.

Senator Humphries has asked Fairfax to issue a retraction, and respectfully asks that you remove elements of this web-site which are misleading (e.g. your alteration to his web-page).

Yours sincerely

Mick McNeill
Adviser
Office of Gary Humphries
Senator for the ACT

I’ve removed an illustration based upon the banner of Humphries’ website. I’ll append a retraction should Fairfax print one.

I don’t see how Humphries can claim that he’s not a beneficiary of donations to the ACT Liberal Party, regardless of source. How the Liberals slush their donations around in-house isn’t a matter of public concern; if the Liberal Party took a donation from ACT RTL, I don’t see how it’s unfair or inaccurate to say that Humphries is sponsored by ACT RTL.

-weez

MORE: The Sun-Herald has printed a retraction of the original story:

What this apology does is indicate that Fairfax could not finish following the money trail directly from ACT RTL to Humphries.

What this apology does not do is explain why there is a record of ten $3000 donations from ACT RTL to 10 ACT Liberal Party candidates, who have not properly declared the donations.

-weez


13 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I have met Gary Humphries on a few occasions, and had cause to have a couple of in-depth chats with him. I find it hard to believe that he would be paying off for a donation. As a moderate Liberal he actually believes in a lot of the right to life stuff, so my guess is that he saw an opportunity to vote in a way that served his (and their) agenda. There is also the possibility that the evil fingerprints of Tony Abbott are behind this decision as well. After all, Humphries is facing a difficult pre-selection next year after his decision to cross the floor over the “gay marriage” bill, and it could be that he is doing his best to worm his way back into favour with the conservative right who dominate the Liberal Party.
Cheers

Comment by Mick Strummer 08.20.06 @ 12:17 pm

Thanks for commenting, Mick.

I have a lot more problem with the fact that the gubmint is lavishly funding a means of religious persecution than Humphries per se. However, Humphries definitely doesn’t put himself in a good light by taking any sum from what is quite clearly a religious pressure group.

Abortion is a medical decision; if there’s a third chair in a woman’s GP’s office, it’s not there to have a religious arbiter on hand, ready to damn the woman for her desire not to be pregnant.

With the rules as they are, I should rightfully be able to hand out chocolate cancer cures with impunity.

If Humphries believes the anti-choice trip, that’s all well and good- until he brings what should be his private moral code into the Parliament and forces it on people who may or may not share his religious proclivities. If the ACT were populated solely by RTL Catholics, it could work, but at last look, the ACT wasn’t a theocracy.

Comment by weez 08.20.06 @ 1:06 pm

Whichever way you analyse the motive/s of Gary Humphries Mick, his action shows him to be callously indifferent to a woman’s well being.

$30,000 or women’s health was an easy decision for this man!

Comment by suki 08.20.06 @ 1:09 pm

In other words, we know what Humphries is- and his price.

Based on the 1998 population figures, 154,972 women live in the ACT. At the going rate of $30,000, the reproductive health and freedoms of the women of the ACT are worth about $193.58 each- before GST, of course.

Comment by weez 08.20.06 @ 1:19 pm

Dear MGK,

The Fairfax article on which this item is based wrongly claims that Senator Humphries received funding from Right to Life during the 2004 Federal election campaign.

The $30,000 referred to was directed to Liberal candidates contesting the 2004 ACT Legislative Assembly election. Senator Humphries did not receive any of this money.

Senator Humphries has asked Fairfax to issue a retraction, and respectfully asks that you remove elements of this web-site which are misleading (e.g. your alteration to his web-page).

Yours sincerely

Mick McNeill
Adviser
Office of Gary Humphries
Senator for the ACT

Comment by Mick McNeill 08.30.06 @ 5:41 pm

I’ve removed an illustration based upon the banner of Humphries’ website.

I’ll append a retraction should Fairfax print one.

I donít see how Humphries can claim that heís not a beneficiary of donations to the ACT Liberal Party, regardless of source. How the Liberals slush their donations around in-house isnít a matter of public concern; if the Liberal Party took a donation from ACT RTL, I donít see how itís unfair or inaccurate to say that Humphries is sponsored by ACT RTL.

Comment by weez 08.30.06 @ 6:24 pm

Spoke with Fairfax today. Humpers may have asked for a retraction from Fairfax… but I strongly suspect he’s got Buckley’s of getting one. Like me, the opinion at Ffx appears to be that the ACT Liberal Party took a $30K donation from ACT RTL- and that the Humpster- without doubt- benefits from said donation.

If the good Senator and his party are embarassed about taking big fat donations from a religious-right pressure group, equivalent to 10% of RTL’s $300,000 annual government funding- they should be.

Religious dogma has no place in public law which binds all Australians, not just the Christian ones.

Comment by weez 08.31.06 @ 10:23 pm

Dear MGK,

I think you continue to misunderstand the nature of the donation by Right to Life of $30,000.

Under ACT Liberal Party rules, all donations to Liberal candidates must be made through the Party’s accounts. The donation by Right to Life for the 2004 Legislative Assembly campaign was exclusively for the ACT Legislative Assembly campaign, and even then only for 10 selected candidates in that campaign.

Neither the ACT Liberal Party generally nor Senator Humphries in particular were able to make use of that money. It is no more true to say that “the Liberal Party took a donation from ACT RTL” than it is to say that Australia Post took a donation because it transmitted the cheque in one of its mailbags.

Yours sincerely

Mick McNeill
Adviser
Office of Gary Humphries
Senator for the ACT

Comment by Mick McNeill 09.01.06 @ 3:51 pm

Really, Mick?

Who were the candidates and how much each did they receive?

Comment by weez 09.01.06 @ 6:27 pm

Dear MGK,

You undertook to “append a retraction should Fairfax print one”. A retraction was published on page 13 of the 3/9/06 edition of the Sun-Herald.
Senator Humphries would appreciate you appending the retraction as well as removing parts of your web-site which are misleading – eg the headline of this discussion page.

Yours Sincerely

Mick McNeill
Adviser
Office of Gary Humphries
Senator for the ACT

Comment by Mick McNeill 09.07.06 @ 5:45 pm

I have looked for this retraction in the online Fairfax sites and have yet to find it. I have an enquiry lodged with the author of the Sun-Herald piece which prompted this entry.

I’ve changed the title of the piece pending the outcome of my enquiries.

Comment by weez 09.08.06 @ 2:24 pm

Mick McNeill was kind enough to scan up the Sun-Herald retraction and email it to me, which I have posted above.

Comment by weez 09.09.06 @ 11:15 am

Uh Oh! DE JA VU. What’s with Gary?! This time Gary Humphries is causing another stir around misleading advertising – this time at the 07 Election!!!But will he hang onto his Seat this precarious election? How come Humphries’ ACT Liberal Director, Andrew Heath has authorised a crude scare campaign leaflet that makes up all sorts of policies that the Greens are meant to support? ( Cop this oneLEGALISED DRUGS/Drug festival…)Yet there’s no authorship on it, no poilitical party details. It’s like no-one’s isued this false bit of advertising, just had it professionally mailed out via junk mail posting. Or rather no-one’s owning up to it.Andrew Heath’s authorised it. So In that case Gary, how about stopping the printers!

Comment by david Bohm 11.18.07 @ 10:22 pm



Leave a comment

(required)

(required)