Matt Taylor – Sunraysia Daily
THE Reason Party’s “morally corrupt” creation of websites under rival politicians’ domain names has run further than just the three Victorian Nationals MPs.
Sunraysia Daily can reveal the full extent of Reason’s website blitz against its political rivals earlier this year.
We broke the story on Friday that a staffer in Reason leader Fiona Patten’s office had bought the domain names of Nationals leader Peter Walsh and two of his colleagues, Emma Kealy and Danny O’Brien, in response to the Nats doing the same thing to its now former coalition partner, Member for Mildura Ali Cupper, in February.
But the staffer didn’t stop there. He also bought up the domain names of three other Victorian upper house MPs of different stripes, as well as state lobby group Reignite Democracy Australia.
Stuart Grimley, from the Derryn Hinch Justice Party, Liberal Matthew Bach and Liberal Democrat David Limbrick have all had their domain names bought by the Reason staffer.
“I found out about this at the end of the last sitting week just over a week ago when I was having a few drinks with a couple of other crossbenchers,” Mr Grimley said.
“It’s misleading, it’s deceptive, morally corrupt and it’s just not on.
“I tried to call Fiona about this a week ago, but she hasn’t called me back.”
Ms Patten confirmed she had received the message from Mr Grimley, but she said she was in New Zealand last week.
The latest revelation comes after Sunraysia Daily revealed how the Reason staffer had done the same thing that Ms Cupper had criticised the Nats for after they created alicupper.com.
It led to Ms Cupper pulling the pin on her formal coalition with the Reason Party on Thursday.
On Sunday, Ms Patten brushed off the criticism of her party over the domain-name argy-bargy as a “storm in a teacup”.
“The staffer checked for all available domains, and simply registered anything available to him,” the Reason leader said.
“This was done and paid for privately through his own private consultancy
– not by the party and unbeknownst to myself.
“No attack websites were created. (They were) simply redirected to Reason Party which has now been switched off.”
However, as of 4.30pm on Sunday, the three websites the staffer created under the Nats’ domain names were still landing on the Reason Party’s home page.
Reignitedemocracy.com.au was also being redirected to Reason’s page.
Mr Bach said that, by association, Ms Cupper should wear some of the blame for Reason’s website tactics.
“The Member for Mildura is a hypocrite. Ali Cupper knew about the behaviour of the Reason Party months ago,” he said.
“Yet she said and did nothing because, at that time, it was not a media story. Only once she was embarrassed publicly did she distance herself from the hard-left, inner-city Reason Party.
“I’ve received emails from Nigerian princes who are less fake than Ali Cupper.”
Ms Cupper confirmed she knew about the creation of the three Nats’ websites and said they were done “without my approval”.
The independent MP said she would not enter a formal coalition again after opening herself up to party-political games.
“All the collaboration I do from now is going to be informal,” Ms Cupper said.
Sunraysia Daily understands a number of MPs’ offices are preparing to make formal complaints about the staff member in Ms Patten’s office who bought up the domain names of rival MPs.