Source: Andrew Clennell, Sky news
A spokeswoman for Mr Marles told Sky News Australia on Wednesday he had “absolutely no knowledge of anything to do with the funds raised from that event.”
Mr Byrne spoke in his IBAC evidence of the fact that he believed that people attending fundraisers knew that the money raised there was for branch stacks.
Counsel Assisting Chris Carr asked: “Were fundraisers used at one point to pay for memberships?
Mr Byrne responded: “They were.”
Mr Carr then questioned: “Can you explain how that worked?
Mr Byrne said: “There would generally be an event that was held normally in either April or May. Party members and others, unions et cetera, would be invited to attend these gatherings. It would be a north-eastern fundraiser. It generally was hosted by Luke, myself and Adem [Somyurek] . . . and then there was money that was left over that was used for memberships.”
Mr Byrne was then shown the Marles event flyer and confirmed that was one of the events concerned.
Commissioner Robert Redlich then asked Mr Byrne: “So what group of persons would be aware, Mr Byrne, that these funds raised at these functions were going to be applied in that improper way?
Mr Byrne responded: “It would be most of the people who were attending the function.
Commissioner Redlich: “ I thought you said you wouldn’t expect that the people attending the functions would know that the money was going to be used that way?
Mr Byrne: “Sorry . . . most of the people that would have attended those functions had a pretty good idea that some of the money that was being raised would go to memberships.” Other frontbenchers like Bill Shorten, Tony Burke and Chris Bowen have headlined similar events, Labor sources have told Sky News.
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has come under pressure to act against Mr Byrne, the Labor MP for Holt and deputy chair of the Parliament Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, in the wake of the IBAC evidence where Mr Byrne admitted that he spent thousands buying up party memberships and used taxpayer funds on employing two staff who worked on branch stacks instead of for the Commonwealth.
Mr Byrne was, however, commended by the IBAC Commissioner for giving evidence unfavourable to himself which had helped IBAC expose others.