Global tech giants IBM, NEC and Alcatel-Lucent have denied reports they were planning to pay $5,000 per seat to attend a fundraising dinner this Thursday hosted by Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett and attended by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
Conroy will be in Tasmania on Thursday to launch Basslink Telecom's new fibre cable alongside Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett. After the Basslink launch, the Tasmanian Labor party has planned to host a fund-raising dinner at the Moorilla Estate winery in an effort to raise funds for its 2009/10 election campaign.
Tasmanian newspaper The Mercury today reported Labor state secretary John Dowling confirmed that the theme of the evening was information and communications technology-related but refused to comment on the list of attendees. Dowling was unable to speak with ZDNet.com.au's today.
Each of the companies mentioned in the article have denied 'fee-paying' involvement with the evening, with IBM stating its staff were not permitted to attend such events.
"IBM has a policy that we don't attend any political party fundraisers," an IBM spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au.
A spokesperson for Alcatel-Lucent said that while a few of its local executives would be attending the evening, they were not doing so in the capacity as employees of the company but as members of a charity organisation. The spokesperson denied the company had contributed to the fundraising dinner.
An NEC spokesperson said that it was "no secret that NEC has been engaged in discussions with the Tasmanian Government around its NBN ambitions, which we will continue to do." The spokesperson added that some Tasmanian-based NEC executives would attend, but that it had not paid for their spots at the dinner.