Qld LNP leader denies developer donations

The Qld Liberal National Party denies it referred Deb Frecklington to the electoral commission.
The Qld Liberal National Party denies it referred Deb Frecklington to the electoral commission.

Queensland's anti-corruption watchdog has warned election candidates about integrity amid reports Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington attended a series of fundraisers involving property developers.

In an election campaign week set up for her to be seen with the support of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Ms Frecklington found herself defending her integrity for a second consecutive day.

The ABC reported that she was referred to the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) by her own party for attending at least five private fundraisers where property developers were present.

The LNP received $150,000 in donations around the events but have strenuously denied that any donations came from developers, which is a crime in Queensland.

The LNP leader also denied she had received a show-cause notice from ECQ about the fundraising events.

"I haven't heard from them at all," Ms Frecklington told reporters.

"In relation to private dinners, I attend dinners all the time - I'm a politician. Politicians attend supporters' dinners, politicians mix with and go to events with every manner and type of business people.

"On the ECQ website, anyone can attend a fundraiser, but a prohibited donor cannot donate.

"Let's make it really clear: I stand by my integrity."

However, she did admit the LNP sought ECQ clarification about donations regularly, as a normal practice.

"There is nothing untoward about that," Ms Frecklington said.

Crime and Corruption Commission chief executive Alan MacSporran took the extraordinary step of warning election candidates about integrity after the allegations were reported.

He said the CCC is monitoring donations, especially any potential donations from property developers, amid growing evidence that the lines between politicians and private sector are blurring.

"That's why, in the lead-up to this election, the CCC is working proactively to assess and identify any activity or associations that may put the public interest at risk," Mr MacSporran wrote in an open letter.

The CCC boss also warned people not to publicise allegations of corruption before the CCC has had the chance to investigate.

He said it risks harming corruption investigations, damaging reputations and compromising the fair trials of people charged with corruption.

"If you have a genuine complaint to make against a person, particularly in the lead up to the election, not to publicise that complaint until after the CCC has had an opportunity to assess and possibly investigate the complaint," he said.

The LNP leader already spent Monday defending herself after The Australian reported she met property developers in June, where she boasted about her campaign to open the state's borders "in coordination with the prime minister" .

Mr Morrison, who was due to attend a fundraiser with Ms Frecklington in Brisbane, avoided naming her at a press conference on the Gold Coast.

He passionately defended NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who is under her own integrity cloud, but didn't stick up for Ms Frecklington when asked directly about donation laws in Queensland.

"All political parties should comply with the laws, the laws are different in different states," Mr Morrison said.

"They're different at federal level, they're different at state level, everyone should comply with the law. It's pretty straightforward."

The focus on Ms Frecklington's integrity largely overshadowed her election pledge for a $2300 tax break for motorhome owners, announced in the safe Labor seat of Redcliffe.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick was quick to seize on the ABC report, which he claimed resulted from leaks by disgruntled LNP members.

"Deb Frecklington needs to answer questions about what she was doing and why her party is leaking against her," he said.

Mr Dick joined Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Maryborough to announce a $600 million commitment to build 20 new trains in the railway town, which is a marginal Labor seat.

The premier also denied she had attended any Labor fundraisers involving property developers.

"The party does very, very detailed investigations about people who are attending those events," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Queenslanders go to the polls on October 31.

Australian Associated Press