John Hales, the secretive Australian world leader of the Exclusive Brethren (known as the Elect Vessel), met the elect faithful in Christchurch yesterday. According to a former member of the church quoted in the article, his main purpose would be raising cash.
But just prior to the recent Australian election, the Australian Labor Party reported the Brethren to the Police and the Australian Electoral Commission under Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering Act, alleging that $120,000 in cash had been deposited into an account used to pay for advertisements for the re-election of John Howard. The Australian Federal Police are investigating the allegations.
The Brethren have themselves acknowledged on their website that they transfer cash around the world, “to do the work of the Lord.” They say that none of this money is used for political donations. To which one can only answer – yeah right!
However it also raises another interesting possibility. The Electoral Finance Bill will severely resrict anonymous donations from January 1 next year – perhaps Hales is getting in ahead of the new law, just like Key has tried to do with National’s abortive $200,000 video.