I have been stuck with a power outage from this morning until mid-afternoon my time (I'm currently 4 hours behind Sydney time) so posts are quite late today. You may have seen this story elsewhere but I thought it worthwhile posting it here ICYMI.
The lobbying firm of NSW Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios has started donating to the Labor Party, in an apparent nod towards the likelihood of Bill Shorten taking up residence in The Lodge. Mr Photios confirmed yesterday that his firm, Premier State, had for the first time joined the Federal Labor Business Forum and had spent $22,000 this year via the forum to attend Labor functions.
Last year, Mr Photios hired Sabina Husic — an ex-staffer to Labor premier Kristina Keneally, one-time NSW opposition leader Luke Foley and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Since joining Premier State, she has been attending state Labor fundraisers in the lead-up to the March 23 state election.
Mr Photios’s donations were yesterday criticised by Liberal senator Jim Molan, who told The Australian: “Good Liberals support the Liberal Party. I support the Liberal Party. Michael Photios should do exactly the same.”
Mr Photios’s former business partner and Liberal powerbroker Nick Campbell also confirmed yesterday that his firm, Nexus, had this year donated to Labor and had joined the Federal Labor Business Forum.
Nexus has also taken on former federal Labor staffers after being an exclusively Liberal outfit.
Mr Photios, a former NSW Liberal minister and former head of the NSW moderates faction, has been credited with supporting the elevation of Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison to the prime ministership.
Mr Photios had to quit the party’s state executive in 2013 after then prime minister Tony Abbott declared “You can either be a powerbroker or a lobbyist but you can’t be both”.
A senior Labor source confirmed the donations were made to the federal party. “Their decision to donate to Labor is a clear vote of no confidence in Scott Morrison leading into the federal election,” the source said.
“If they want to support Labor, then good luck to them. The harder thing to fathom is how Michael Photios explains his decision to his mate Gladys Berejiklian.”
A senior Liberal described the decision of Mr Photios to donate to Labor as an act of disloyalty against the Prime Minister. “Michael has always been ‘Whatever it takes’,” the source said.
Donation disclosures lodged with the NSW Electoral Commission show Mr Photios also gave $2970 last December to the state branch of the Liberal Party for the NSW state election.
The sum he gave to the NSW Liberals on December 3 was considerably less than the $22,000 Mr Photios is shown to have contributed to federal Labor for its business forum events.