Chris Dobney and Luis Feliu
The NSW opposition yesterday called for the National Party’s Tweed MP and parliamentary secretary for police Geoff Provest to be sacked after it was revealed that he had breached the law on political donations by accepting a $2,500 donation from a property developer.
Political candidates in NSW elections are banned from accepting donations from property developers.
Mr Provest was promoted to the parliamentary secretary position when his predecessor, then Clarence MP Steve Cansdell, resigned after admitting to having filled in a false affidavit.
Opposition Leader John Robertson said yesterday that ‘according to his own electoral return, Geoff Provest broke the law by pocketing $2,500 from The Power Property Trust in March last year’.
‘In addition, Mr Provest also breached the cap on donations from companies, which at the time he received his donation was $2,000.’
Mr Robertson further accused Mr Provest of attempting to cover up the donation by lodging three different disclosure documents, each listing the property developer as donating different amounts.
‘Unfortunately for Mr Provest, the donor clearly stated on their electoral donation disclosure form that the donation was $2,500,’ Mr Robertson said.
But Mr Provest said he did not know the donor was a developer.
‘I did not realise that Power Industries and/or (managing director) James Power may have been prohibited donors,’ he told parliament.
Mr Power, a Brisbane-based businessman and longtime friend of Mr Provest, is a former general manager of the now-defunct daily newspaper, the Tweed Daily News.
Late yesterday, Mr Provest issued a statement denying the company was a property developer in NSW, but admitted the amount breached the cap and that as a result he had sacked his volunteer ‘agent’ handling the campaign returns.
‘Having now investigated the issue it appears that there are some irregularities in the returns submitted on my behalf. I am disappointed that this has happened and have today revoked the appointment of my agent,’ he said.
Mr Robertson said it was the second time a parliamentary secretary for police had broken the law under the O’Farrell government.