Another baseless campaign finance story (and one not so baseless story)

There’s an odd campaign finance-related story on page one of today’s Australian. Apparently the brother-in-law of Queensland Opposition leader Campbell Newman put in a bid for a contract with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority. The Australian‘s assumption seems to have been that Newman somehow has questions to answer, which as Newman’s response makes clear he does not:

“I am not a state government decision-maker nor am I an elected member; therefore there is no conflict of interest. I can categorically state that Lisa [his wife] and myself have not received any financial benefit and will not in the future receive any financial benefit from the operations of Frank and Seb Monsour’s company.”

I don’t think there was any story here, and certainly not a page one story. But if there was a story to be extracted from this thin material, what about the angle that the Queensland government wouldn’t do business with a company because its owners had family associations with the LNP leadership? The possibility that politicians might improperly use information about the financial associations of their opponents seems to be largely ignored in the campaign finance debate.

Also on page one, another campaign regulation story: Jewish doctor John Nemesh being prosecuted for posters critical of anti-Israel Green Fiona Byrne, which failed to include the name and address of the printer. An example of how complex campaign rules result in people who are not political professionals being prosecuted for inadvertent and trivial violations of the law.

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