November 02, 2005 | Graham

Cheihkier than I thought

George Cheihk could be the all-time heavyweight of political donors, both state and federal. I’ve been contacted to point out that I’ve under-stated George Cheihk’s contributions to the Liberal and Labor Parties. (See my earlier posts here and here.)
It seems that the total Mr Cheihk gave to both sides in 2003-2004 was $570,260.80. That’s huge, and dwarfs what even the largest corporates give, even at a federal level. The Queensland Liberals took $345,160.80 ($88,929.80 more than I thought) and Queensland Labor $165,100 ($90,100 more). I missed some of the payments because I didn’t do a company search and didn’t check the signatures on the returns. Sloppy journalism, but a good reason to run a blog where people will help you to do your job properly.
My informant took an interest in Cheihk because he is a local resident in Albion, and Cheihk is trying to have the quarry on Crosby Road rezoned for high density, which my new friend opposes. This would apparently require both state government and Brisbane City Council approval.
Ironically, the size of Cheihk’s donations probably makes it tougher for him to get the rezoning than if he had given something smaller. Irrespective of whether the application has merit or not, from a political point of view any favourable decision is going to look like it was made to aid a wealthy donor. The temptation for any council or state government would be to knock it back and let it go to court so they can wipe their hands of the blame. That’s the sort of friendship declarable donations buy in politics.
The issue would be much less difficult if Cheihk had only donated $25,000 to each.
It’s possible that this issue could hurt the prospects of Tim Nicholls, the Liberal candidate for Clayfield, which includes this area, in the next state election. Nicholls is currently the local councillor. He’ll presumably be lobbying against the rezoning to enhance his chances.
If not, perhaps he should resign as the candidate. Tony Morris QC is a local resident, and he is making no secret of the fact he’d love to run for state parliament. They could preselect him. Or perhaps they could repay Sally Hannah’s loyalty and preselect her instead. (For the low down on how Hannah, the Liberal candidate last time was treated when she applied for preselection this time, click here.) Except, next to excessive donations, loyalty is one of the other rarely rewarded things in politics.

Posted by Graham at 10:08 pm | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Australian Politics

1 Comment

  1. Check out the headline of Collingwood Park’s latest ad campaign. It ridiculously proposes that buying a house in Collingwood Park will negate any down side of ‘negotiations’ with employers once the new IR legislation comes into effect. Pretty muddy thinking, but most telling is the ‘authorisation’ of the ad following the headline. A crossing of political language into developer speak. It’s all rather ridiculous, but highlights Chiehk’s idea of himself and his companies as being not too seperate (in his own mind at least)from Queensland’s political community.
    While this ‘in-joke’ will leave the punters bemused, no-doubt his friends are having a chuckle at his ‘cheihk’.

    Comment by kangy — November 4, 2005 @ 8:31 am

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