The West

Terry Jackson

The WA Liberal Party has suffered a blow to its finances after long-time benefactor Terry Jackson said it could no longer have its Murray Street headquarters rent-free.

Mr Jackson, a multimillionaire who made his fortune manufacturing the Kreepy Krauly pool cleaner, owns Menzies House at 640 Murray Street and has allowed the WA Liberal Party to occupy its top floor at no cost for decades. It is believed the free lease has been worth as much as $250,000 a year to the WA Liberal Party.

Mr Jackson is thought to have donated millions of dollars to WA Liberals over the past 25 years.

But in a rare interview, he told _The West Australian _he believed the Liberal Party was now in good shape and he wanted to encourage the organisation to take greater responsibility for its long-term finances.

"If you were in business and couldn't pay the rent . . . it's possible sometimes to take things for granted," Mr Jackson said. "There is no better test than to make them pay their own way."

Mr Jackson, 74, said he would continue to donate cash to the party. He said the party was enjoying a renaissance, with the Liberals in power at both the State and Federal levels.

It is understood the WA Liberal Party is now considering whether it should buy Menzies House - possibly at a substantially discounted price - or seek out a new property in the city.

A move to raise funds to buy Menzies House or another property would face complications.

The party's financial vehicle, the Liberal Party of Western Australia Ltd, holds about $3 million in blue-chip shares and $3.2 million in property around the State.

But to sell some of that property to raise funds for a new head office, party officials would have to negotiate with State divisions.

The WA Liberal Party is considered one of the wealthiest branches of the organisation, second only in cash reserves and property holdings to the Victorian Liberal Party.

The West Australian

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