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Vic Liberals donation drive ‘above board’

A “double donation” campaign that raised more half a million dollars for the Victorian Liberals did not breach the state’s strict laws, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy says.

The Victorian Electoral Commission has sought assurances from the party that its 24-hour “Ditch Dan” fundraising drive – matching contributions dollar for dollar on Thursday – complies with donation requirements.

“We’re monitoring the progress of the campaign and will continue to explore and identify any compliance issues, ensuring all required donations are disclosed,” it said in a statement.

Under Victorian laws brought in following the 2018 election, political donations above $1080 cannot be anonymous and are capped at $4320 over four years for individuals and organisations.

As of 11pm on Thursday, 26 donations made above the $1080 threshold were listed as “anonymous” including to deputy Liberal leader David Southwick and opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier.

“Good luck Georgie we need a new start with and (sic) honest government,” one anonymous donor of $2000 wrote.

Integrity has been highlighted as a key issue for the November 26 state election, as both major parties head to the polls with questions over their heads.

The Liberals’ election hopes were dented this month when it emerged Mr Guy’s chief of staff Mitch Catlin asked a billionaire donor to make more than $100,000 in payments to his private marketing company, prompting Mr Catlin’s resignation.

Sam McQuestin, Victorian director of the Liberal Party, took to social media to declare the “Ditch Dan” campaign was run 100 per cent transparent.

“We are aware of and fully abiding by all electoral law requirements,” he tweeted.

Asked whether it was all above board, Mr Guy told reporters on Friday: “One hundred per cent.”

“The computer system that we had would not accept anything that was above any VEC limit. So if it was above one limit, it would have to be disclosed as the law says. If it was over the other, it wouldn’t be acceptable.”

The campaign had raised more than $570,000 as of Friday morning and Mr Guy was impressed by the response.

“So many Victorians want a change of government,” he said.

Three months out from election day in November, Mr Guy and his senior leadership team earlier laid out the coalition’s vision for the state at a Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry breakfast.

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