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Thursday, 18 September 2003
Page: 20515

Ms ROXON (3:03 PM) —My question is again to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. I refer to comments made by Mr Kisrwani on SBS TV where he said:

When Phillip Ruddock announces his election campaign open in his office, I always go there and Dante went with me and he gave $10,000.

Will the minister now advise when he first discussed or became aware of the $10,000 donation, or the intention to make a donation, from Mr Tan to his election campaign?

Mr RUDDOCK (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation) —I dealt with this issue yesterday when I made it clear that, in relation to this issue, the comments that Mr Kisrwani made on television were flawed. The donation was not made at that time; it came to the conference in January. I also made it clear that, in relation to that matter, there was no inconsistency in what I have said on these issues over time. The point I have made is that I became aware of the donation when these matters were raised. I do not get people handing me a list of those people who make donations to the Berowra conference.

An opposition member—You do.

Mr RUDDOCK —I do not. The office bearers of my conference fulfil their obligations as they are required to do under the act. I neither seek information from them nor am I provided with information. I became aware of this issue when it was debated in the last session and when it was brought to my attention that this information had been included in the party's return. That is the reality. That is what happened.

Mr Kisrwani offered a view. I said that his recollection must have been faulty when he spoke about the campaign launch. On the advice that I was given by the party treasurer, the matter of when a payment was made was revealed to me. He wrote after the television program to tell me that the payment was received by cheque on 2 January 2002. As I commented yesterday, the further return which the honourable member for Gellibrand tabled yesterday was a reconstruction. It was clearly a reconstruction, because the document was dated October 2002.

The SPEAKER —I warn the member for Rankin!

Mr RUDDOCK —I simply make the point that everybody is asked whether or not they wish to confirm that they have made a donation and information is sought by the electoral office. That was sought in that particular case and obviously tabled. It was a reconstruction then and the recollection of Mr Kisrwani was faulty on television. I think that answers the question.