TASMANIAN Treasurer Michael Aird today confirmed he had hosted a fundraising dinner in Hobart this year that had raised $22,000 to pay for his re-election campaign.The fundraiser was held on January 22 in the Henry Jones Art Hotel's Art Installation Suite and attracted some of the State's leading businessmen.``There were 11 paying guests at the dinner and each paid $2000 to attend, with food and beverages provided by Federal Hotels. ``They were invited because I hoped they would support me in my re-election campaign. The $22,000 raised will go towards my re-election campaign for the Legislative Council seat of Derwent. ``The then Premier, Paul Lennon; myself; my Head of Office, David Bailey; and Mr Brendan Blomley of Federal Hotels attended.``The dinner invitation was issued by me and was explicit in saying that the dinner would be a fundraiser for my election campaign for the Division of Derwent in 2009. ``Each paying guest was invoiced by the Tasmanian Labor Party. This money has since been transferred to a separate account, for which I am not a signatory, but is maintained by my office,'' Mr Aird said.Those who attended included: o George Giameos o Greg Farrell o Michael Kento Alwyn Shaw o Josef Chromy o Dean Cocker o Steve Old o Robert Rockefeller o Peter Berhrakis o Andrew Scobie o Dean Lisson Mr Aird said he would comply with the campaign spending limit of $12,000 which will apply from January 1, 2009.``I have been using the remaining $10,000 to finance my campaign to date and there is nothing inappropriate about this. ``The funds are held in a separate account that I am not a signatory to.'' Mr Aird said he welcomed any debate on improving political donation disclosure laws. ``In fact, the State Government is the only party that has come out in support of Kevin Rudd's proposed national reforms, which include reducing the threshold for declaring individual donations from $10,500 down to $1000, banning anonymous and overseas donations and establishing a system of twice-yearly reporting to improve transparency. ``All political parties hold similar fundraising events and I have complied absolutely with the rules on political donations,'' Mr Aird said. ``I find the comments coming from the Liberals and Greens odd, given that they also hold pre-election fundraisers that operate on precisely the same principle. ``They are criticising me for complying with the rules and doing exactly the same as they do, so I consider this a case of political hypocrisy.''
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