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Title Plymouth Brethren - Sect member funded anti-Greens campaign

Plymouth Brethren - Sect member funded anti-Greens campaign January 19th, 2007 - A MYSTERY Sydney businessman belonging to the Exclusive Brethren sect spent $370,000 on advertisements and pamphlets during the 2004 federal election, according to the Australian Electoral Commission. This finding follows a year-long investigation sparked by Senator Bob Brown into the funding of seven sets of advertisements and pamphlets in the last federal election. All attacked the Greens and called for the re-election of the Howard Government. Though they were all authorised by members of the Exclusive Brethren, the sect s elders have always denied their church had any role in organising the campaign in NSW, South Australia and Tasmania. [...] Willmac outspent the Wilderness Society, private health lobbyists, leading trade unions, the National Union of Students and even the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania. Contrary to longstanding claims by the Exclusive Brethren, the commission found Willmac s $370,000 was all the company s own money. The commission concluded: There is no evidence that Willmac Enterprises received any gifts or donations from other sources that contributed to the costs of the advertisements and pamphlets. Since late 2005, Exclusive Brethren leaders have claimed the cost was met by several individual members of the sect all acting alone. A spokesman, Warwick John, told the Herald the advertisements had been financed by several individual Sydney businessmen . Senator Brown is not satisfied by the commission s findings. The presentation of the Exclusive Brethren activities has been as individuals feeling strongly about spending maybe $10,000 each to join in an election campaign as every other citizen might do, he told the Herald. But what the electoral office tells us is that it was all highly co-ordinated across the country. It was done by Willmac, which was set up just before the election and closed down just afterwards The whole set-up was one of deceit. [...] This is a summary extract from the full article as it appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 20, 2007 Full Article