Liberal fundraising chief offered meetings with party leaders in return for Woodman donations

A key Liberal Party fundraising body offered allegedly corrupt developer John Woodman a meeting with Victorian party leaders Michael O’Brien and Robert Clark in return for donations that were then divided up to prevent public disclosure.

In a secretly recorded telephone conversation from February last year, played at a hearing of the anti-corruption commission, former Enterprise Victoria executive director Amy Sullivan encouraged Mr Woodman to renew his membership of the fundraising group. In return she offered a meeting with party leader Michael O’Brien and president, Robert Clark.

Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien.Credit:Darrian Traynor

The hearing is part of the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission’s hearing inquiry into the Casey land scandal.

The revelation from the recorded phone call came after Ms Sullivan had told IBAC that she did not recall any conversations with Mr Woodman about his contributions to Enterprise Victoria.

After giving this evidence, she then had to sit through the recorded conversation in which she talked to the controversial developer about dividing up his payments that totalled $70,000 for one year into $10,000 lots from assorted Woodman-related companies.

Amy SullivanCredit:LinkedIn

By doing so the payments would be under the Australian Electoral Commission’s threshold for disclosure, meaning they would not need to be publicly reported.

IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich and counsel assisting Amber Harris also focused on Ms Sullivan’s observation in the recorded call that Enterprise Victoria had found a “loophole” around the Andrews government’s strict donation laws which took effect after the November 2018 state election.

The recorded conversation came after The Sunday Age had raised concerns about Mr Woodman’s outsized influence both at Casey council and with state MPs.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien on Monday said he understood Enterprise Victoria approached his office about a meeting with Mr Woodman but the meeting never happened.

“Nobody should be offering a meeting … I choose who I meet with,” he said.

“I’ve never met with John Woodman and I won’t meet with him.”

He stressed that Ms Sullivan was no longer the head of Enterprise Victoria.

More to come

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