Mark McGowan defends his decision to attend $1,000 wine tasting dinner at estate king Nigel Satterley’s house
West Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan has defended his decision to attend a private dinner at a major property developer, where they drank a $1,000 bottle of wine.
Mr McGowan told reporters that heads of state often attend events hosted by high-profile figures and he could not ‘help if there was wine being served there which was expensive’.
The Penfolds Grange Wine Tasting Dinner took place at property developer Nigel Satterley’s Peppermint Grove mansion on Friday evening.
Mr McGowan said it was not a political fundraiser and noted that he was usually away four or five times a week attending various events in his role as Prime Minister.
“It’s just common practice for people who are prime ministers or prime ministers or chief ministers or ministers to go out to dinner, go to events, go to functions and do that kind of stuff,” did he declare.
“I went to dinner with a group of business people, some of whom are very important investors in WA. I work hard to encourage people to invest in WA all the time.
Other guests included Mineral Resources chief executive Chris Ellison, West Coast Eagles chairman Russell Gibbs, APM chief executive Mike Anghie, Wesfarmers chairman Michael Chaney and Crown Resorts Perth chairman , John Van Der Wielen.
Mr McGowan said he would have preferred to stay at home.
“I would rather be home with my wife and kids, but that’s not how my life works,” he said.
“My life works I go to functions, to events, I get invited to a lot of things.
“I do a lot of fundraisers, I do a lot of public events.
“I actually reject most invitations – probably nine out of 10 invites, eight out of 10 I reject. I accept what I can.”
Mr Satterley, a Liberal member, has previously organized events for WA Labour.
Some other states have cracked down on political donations from property developers because of the potential for corruption, but Mr McGowan has no plans to do the same in WA.
“Once you start picking different groups based on those things, you’re heading into some really tough areas,” McGowan said.
“For example, is someone who puts a battle ax in the back of their house a real estate developer?
“You might not even know that person did this. So you’re having dinner or going to a fundraiser or something, so you’re potentially criminalizing yourself and you didn’t even know it.
However, the state government is revising campaign donation laws to increase transparency, McGowan added.