Minter Ellison is hosting a political fundraiser in Melbourne tomorrow night (4 March) for the leader of the National Party in NSW.
Nationals leader Andrew Stoner will be dining with corporate guests at Minter Ellison's Melbourne base in the Rialto Towers in Collins Street, with attendees paying up to $2500 to attend.
With laws in NSW prohibiting corporations from donating more than $2000 per candidate or $5000 per party annually, the National Party has denied the fundraising event breaches these laws.
Lawyers Weekly contacted John Weber, the chief executive partner of Minter Ellison, to seek comment on whether he believes it is appropriate for law firms to host political fundraisers and whether Minter Ellison was charging Andrew Stoner or the National Party for the event.
In a statement, Weber replied that Minter Ellison keeps abreast of what is happening in the political arena but remains apolitical. "We interact with all the major political parties, which occasionally includes functions hosted by political leaders," he said.
Stoner is currently campaigning for the NSW state election on 26 March.
Minter Ellison has formal and informal links with both political parties. Ben Wyatt, a former lawyer in the firm's Perth office, is now a state Labor Party member for the seat of Victoria Park.
The former ALP National President and federal senator, Stephen Loosley, joined the law firm as a special counsel in 2009.
Minter Ellison has prepared a high-profile report for the then Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, in 2010 about the government's failed home insulation program.