«I don’t support Labor’s planned changes to franking credits but nor do I support Tim Wilson’s disgracefully partisan use of this parliamentary committee,» said Ms Phelps.
Liberal MPs have thrown their support behind Mr Wilson. North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman, who used taxpayer funding to robocall voters in his electorate said the tactics had resulted in strong attendance at Friday’s meeting in Chatswood, which began with a protester labelling the hearing a «scam».
«It is a role model for future inquiries,» said Mr Zimmerman.
Liberal MP Jason Falinksi said there was no politicking involved. «The inquiry is a straight-up inquiry,» he said.
Liberal MP Craig Kelly, another member of the committee, said he thought it was perfectly reasonable for the party to raise funds off the back of the taxpayer-funded $160,000 inquiry after The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age revealed the Liberal Party was using it to drive donations.
«Everyone is free to attend,» he said. «They can stand here and hand out forms for the Labor Party, for GetUp! and for One Nation or for the Greens.»
Labor leader Bill Shorten said he would pursue the investigation of Mr Wilson in Parliament.
«This tainted inquiry has been dodgy from day one and it’s just gone from bad to worse,» he said. «I think it is breathtaking that the Liberal politicians are colluding with their friends in the banking and investment community to protect existing business models.»
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he no intention of referring Mr Wilson to the privileges committee, which could rule if he has a conflict of interest.
«He has my support,» he said. «Tim Wilson has done one thing, he has got under the nose of Chris Bowen and the Labor Party. They are coming after retirees and they will regret it.»
The committee’s deputy chair, Labor’s Matt Thistlethwaite, wrote to Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin on Friday, asking him to urgently investigate whether an offence had been committed by Mr Wilson through the sharing of voters data with Wilson Asset Management.
Mr Wilson has denied sharing any details from the electoral roll.
«Labor’s ongoing smear campaign won’t work,» he said.
«The allegations that data has been transferred are false. The only reason that Wilson Assset Management have any data is because people have chosen to send it to them by signing Wilson Assset Management’s petition against the retirement tax. That is their choice, and we respect that.”
Half-a-dozen voters who either live in Mr Wilson’s electorate or registered to attend the inquiry have complained of receiving unsolicited correspondence from the fund manager promoting their product and urging them to campaign against Labor’s policy.
Correspondence seen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age shows Wilson Asset portfolio managers touting their outlooks to voters, following emails from Geoff Wilson urging people to attend the inquiry and invitations from the Liberal Party to attend $220-a-head Liberal fundraiser on the back of the inquiry.
In one email to a constituent related to the inquiry Mr Wilson said he had «a big influence over finance and tax since I am the chair of the House committee on economics».
Geoff Wilson confirmed late on Friday that he had partly funded the government website.
He said he had only communicated “with signatories of our petition”. The petition on the government website is directly linked to the Wilson Asset Management petition.
with Michael Koziol
Eryk Bagshaw is an economics correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.