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Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Page: 9875

Foreign Donations


Senator KITCHING (Victoria) (14:56): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. I refer to the minister who, when asked in question time last week about media reports that Mr Turnbull dined with a Chinese political donor and wealthy businessman, Mr Liu, four days after one of Mr Liu's companies donated $40,000 to the Queensland Liberal National Party, said, 'I am not familiar with the details of those reports.' Given that the minister has had a week to familiarise himself, I ask the minister: who invited Mr Liu, and on what basis was the invitation to Mr Liu issued?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:56): I don't know, Senator.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Kitching, a supplementary question.



Senator KITCHING (Victoria) (14:57): On how many occasions has the Prime Minister met or dined with foreign donors?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:57): I don't know, Senator.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Kitching, a final supplementary question.



Senator KITCHING (Victoria) (14:57): Perhaps—

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left!

Senator KITCHING: Perhaps, Mr President, through you, you could ask the—

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left! I can't hear you at the moment, Senator Kitching, due to your colleagues.

Senator KITCHING: Perhaps through you, Mr President, Senator Brandis might take some of these questions on notice, given he seems very ill informed.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Kitching, as you know, I cannot direct the minister how to answer a question. The minister has been relevant to your question. I will call you for your final supplementary question.

Senator KITCHING: Even former Abbott government defence minister David Johnston says, 'I think foreign donations are a serious problem and potentially undermining of our natural interests.' Why then is the Prime Minister continuing to dine with wealthy foreign businessmen in order to procure donations?








Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:58): The fact is that the sentiment that former Senator Johnston has expressed, or at least that you have attributed to him, is the same view that I have expressed, earlier in question time, and the same view the Prime Minister himself holds, which is why the government has moved to ban foreign donations and ban the introduction of foreign money into the Australian political process, not just through donations to political parties but through donations to third-party political activists as well, something that I thought the Labor Party was meant to welcome, but apparently—it seems from your question, Senator Kitching—that is not so. The fact is that hitherto it has not been against the law of Australia to receive donations from foreigners, as long as those donations have been disclosed. As I have said before, I am very confident that all donations received by the Liberal Party or the National Party have been disclosed.