Health Minister David Davis in trouble

This better not be true, please, can we take any more, bloody snouts in the trough will be taken to a new level!

Health Minister David Davis faces accusations 500 Club paid $130,000 legal bills

Health Minister David Davis faces accusations 500 Club paid $130,000 legal bills

THE future of Health Minister David Davis is under a cloud after allegations the fundraising arm of the Liberal Party is paying his legal bills.

Explosive claims in parliament today that secret funds were funnelled to Premier Ted Baillieu‘s chief of staff Michael Kapel to cover the bills sent MPs into a tailspin.

Parliament descended into uproar with Question Time suspended for 20 minutes and a motion of dissent brought against Speaker Ken Smith after he repeatedly blocked the Opposition‘s questions on the issue.

The $129,658.95 legal bill from Piper Alderman seen by the Herald Sun was sent on April 6 to the Liberal 500 Club – an exclusive group of party heavyweights.

The invoice which is more than 60 days overdue names Mr Kapel as the person of contact.

The bill originated after a bitter legal battle Mr Davis took against former Labor Party state secretary Stephen Newnham.

When asked in parliament if any members had gained a personal benefit from party funds Mr Davis said he did not know because he did not administer the 500 Club.

When asked he had personally benefited by receiving party funds he replied: “I don’t believe I have.”

But when challenged by Opposition spokesman for scrutiny of government Martin Pakula that his legal bills had been paid for by secret party payments he said: “I am confident that nothing has been donated by the 500 Club to me that would compromise my role as a Minister.”

Last year, Mr Davis was forced to make an unreserved apology to Mr Newnham as part of a confidential settlement of defamation case brought by the former ALP state secretary.

The libel action stemmed from a 2009 press release in which Mr Davis accused Mr Newnham of acting corruptly in his dealings with Brimbank Council.

The 500 Club charges an annual fee of $1380 for membership and promotes that it gives members regular access to politicians.

Earlier today, the Treasurer Kim Wells defended an appearance at an exclusive Liberal Party breakfast by the 500 Club claiming it was a break-even event, not a fundraiser.

Premier Ted Baillieu told ministers in February they should not attend fundraisers until a ministerial code of conduct was released.

The Opposition said Mr Wells’ appearance this morning at the 500 Club’s post-budget breakfast breached that pledge.

The fact is there are people inside who have paid a large membership fee to be able to attend this, well over $1000, and there are others that are paying to attend the breakfast. It’s clearly a fundraiser,” Opposition spokesman on scrutiny of government Martin Pakula said.