SA Labor Party to return $125,000 donation from construction union

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SA Labor Party to return $125,000 donation from construction union

The South Australian Labor Party will return a $125,000 donation from the construction union, a decision that was prompted by the vandalism of vehicles belonging to staff from the Master Builders Association.

The donation was made by the Victorian branch of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union CFMEU in the lead-up to the March election in South Australia.

Premier Peter Malinauskas has been resisting calls for donations to be returned or given to charity for several weeks despite the election having a promise to ban donations to political parties for future elections.

SA Labor state secretary Aemon Bourke confirmed on Monday that the donation would be returned to Victorian CFMEU.

Opposition spokeswoman for women Michelle Lensink called for Mr Malinauskas to donate the money to a domestic violence charity, after Victorian CFMEU boss John Setka took over control of the union's South Australian branch.

Emma Walters, the ex-wife of Setka, has previously expressed concerns about the donation to the Labor Party, and called for the money to be passed on to a domestic violence charity.

In the year 2019, Mr Setka was convicted of harassing Ms Walters via text messages while they were still together.

What I'd rather see is that he and his colleague Malinauskas actually go to domestic violence shelters and actually put together care packages for women who have had the courage and courage to escape domestic violence situations, Ms Walters told ABC Radio Adelaide.

After speaking with Master Builders Association chief executive Will Frogley at an event on Sunday, Malinauskas said he was prompted to return the money.

On Friday afternoon, Will explained the events that had occurred, in terms of CFMEU stickers being put on Master Builders Association cars and damage to a car, as well as damage to a car, according to Mr Malinauskas.

If there is evidence of that occurring here in South Australia, then I will act and that's exactly what I did yesterday after hearing that news. The money came from the CFMEU and not Mr Setka personally, and he has resisted calls by Ms Lensink to donate the money to a domestic violence charity based on Mr Setka's previous conviction.

Frogley confirmed to ABC Radio Adelaide that cars had been damaged on Friday evening, but wouldn't go into details about CFMEU stickers that were allegedly being placed on the vehicles.

He said he had increased security at the Master Builders Association and would be installing additional surveillance cameras as a result of Friday's incident.

Everyone in the team should be able to come into work feeling completely unintimidated and safe, he said.

The incident was reported to police, according to Frogley.

He backed Malinauskas' position on banning political donations.

How does a master builder influence government policy? We focus on putting forward a compelling case based on evidence, based on data on why government policy should be a certain way.