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Vic Libs' bid to own Cormack falls short

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June 14, 2018

A decision is due regarding a disagreement between the Victorian Liberal Party and a major donor.

Federal Court Justice Jonathan Beach is due to deliver his judgment the Victorian Liberals' stoush with their biggest donor, the Cormack Foundation and its $70 million war chest.

The two parties have been squabbling over funds amid a disagreement between the foundation and Liberal state president Michael Kroger.

The matter went to hearing in March and Justice Beach reserved his decision, which is scheduled to be handed down on Thursday.

Cormack Foundation was established by Liberal administrators to handle the proceeds from the sale of radio station 3XY in the late 1980s, during Mr Kroger's first stint as party president.

The initial funds of $15 million have since grown to nearly $70 million.

During the hearing, Mr Kroger acknowledged Cormack was run independently and could donate to other interests like the Liberal-aligned Institute of Public Affairs and Sir Robert Menzies Lecture Trust.

However, he said he "could not tolerate" when Cormack donated to political parties that tried to defeat the Turnbull government.

The Victorian Liberals hit financial strife after jailed former state director Damien Mantach stole more than $1.5 million.

The party's falling membership numbers were aired during the hearing, from between 18,000 and 22,000 in 1988, fading to just 10,000 paid and 3000 pending memberships at latest count.

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