OPPOSITION MPs Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey will help bankroll the Liberal Party’s campaign for Ballarat by headlining fundraising events costing attendees as much as $2200.
Organised by Liberal Party fundraising arm Enterprise Victoria, the Boardroom Events series will bring Liberal front-benchers including opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison and Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy to raise money for the campaign of Liberal candidate John Fitzgibbon.
Promotional documents obtained by The Courier offer membership packages ranging from $600 for bronze status to $2200 for diamond status.
Messages from Liberal Senator Michael Ronaldson and Victorian party president Tony Snell say the donations will “assist in ensuring that our campaign to support John Fitzgibbon in winning the seat of Ballarat is well resourced”.
Mr Fitzgibbon declined to comment yesterday, referring questions to Senator Ronaldson.
“These events are part of our plan to win back Ballarat and obviously campaigns are expensive to run so we make no apologies for asking people who would be interested in hearing the invited guests speak to make a contribution,” Senator Ronaldson said.
He said the events did not represent cash-for-access to politicians and would feature local campaign issues.
“There is always a cross-section of the community at these kinds of events and there are no restrictions on who can attend,” he said.
Ballarat MP Catherine King said campaign fundraising was a matter for Mr Fitzgibbon but high prices would preclude many from taking part.
“I would hope that a wide range of people would get access to senior politicians during an election campaign,” she said.
Ms King acknowledged that both sides of politics used high-profile MPs to raise funds.
Finance Minister Penny Wong spoke at a Ballarat fundraiser for Ms King last year, at a cost of $90 per person.