A SYDNEY group offering financial support to federal Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella has wound up, with its remaining money donated to the Liberal Party.
Friends of Indi was formed after Mrs Mirabella was elected to Parliament in 2001.
The Australian Electoral Commission released details of political donations on Wednesday which showed the Friends of Indi had wound up during 2009-10 with $35,338 going to its “related organisation”.
Friends of Indi public officer Tom Robertson said the group had been left with $35,500 and after bank fees were deducted, $35,338 was given to the Liberal Party.
“The association had achieved its objective and didn’t have an ongoing purpose supporting the member for Indi,” Mr Robertson said.
Asked why it was being wound up when Mrs Mirabella was still in Parliament, Mr Robertson said “that’s a question for her”.
“I do know she’s a Liberal Party member of Parliament, so there are Liberal Party support mechanisms for her,” Mr Robertson said.
Mrs Mirabella was reluctant to comment on Friends of Indi, deflecting questions back to the support group.
“There’s no more to say, they’ve wound up,” Mrs Mirabella said.
Friends of Indi gained public attention in 2007 after it was revealed the organisation had accepted a donation of $15,000 from the British American Tobacco company.
The Labor Party criticised Mrs Mirabella for being prepared to accept money from a tobacco firm and successfully sought an electoral commission investigation into the matter on the grounds of disclosure rules not being met.
The inquiry found the Friends of Indi had satisfied disclosure requirements but determined either the Liberal Party’s Victorian division or Mrs Mirabella had a disclosure obligation in relation to the gifts in kind provided by Friends of Indi at the 2004 federal election.
Mr Robertson formed Friends of Indi, which was based at Cremorne, to help the re-election of Mrs Mirabella.
He had became acquainted with Mrs Mirabella during their days in student politics at university.