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Thursday, 26 November 2009
Page: 13069

Mr KEENAN (3:48 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister—

Dr Kelly —How much tobacco money did you get?

The SPEAKER —Order! The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support will withdraw the remark.

Dr Kelly —I withdraw, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER —I thank the parliamentary secretary. The member for Stirling.

Mr KEENAN —My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of his explicit commitment that he would reject all political donations to the Labor Party from Kevin Reynolds and Joe McDonald of the West Australian division of the CFMEU and to his commitment yesterday that since the year 2000 the federal Labor Party has ‘not received any donations from the Western Australian construction division of the CFMEU’. I further refer him to the following comments by Mr Reynolds in the lead-up to the 2007 federal election:

Interviewer: How much of that money has been budgeted for Western Australian seats?

Reynolds: $40,000.

Interviewer: Okay, whereabouts?

Reynolds: Stirling and Hasluck., 20 grand each.

Prime Minister, as Stirling and Hasluck are federal seats, do you still claim that you kept your promise?

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —As I said in response to the honourable member’s question yesterday, and having sought at the end of question time to obtain advice from the national secretary of the Australian Labor Party, it is as I said yesterday. If there is anything further to add then of course I will. But I can only act on the basis of the advice of the national secretary of the party, as would the Leader of the Opposition respond if he was asked a question about donations to the Liberal Party.

I am glad also, though, that the honourable member continues to return to the refrain of campaign donations and campaign finance reform. One of the matters which now lies blocked in the Senate is a proposal we have had there for a long time to reduce the disclosable donation limit from the $10,000 to which those opposite raised it under the Howard government to the $1,500 which we have proposed instead.

Mr Keenan —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. This was a very specific question about commitments that the Prime Minister gave in relation to funding of the Labor Party, and I ask you to return him to relevance.

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister is responding to the question. The Prime Minister.

Mr RUDD —As I said in response to the honourable member’s question that he asked yesterday, having sought the advice of the national secretary of the Labor Party I responded on the basis of that advice having been received. I have received no further advice, and I would simply say on the broader question of campaign finance reform that if those opposite were concerned about integrity on these questions how can they sit there and take $2.1 million from the tobacco lobby and how can they block campaign finance reform legislation in the Senate?

Ms Julie Bishop —Mr Speaker, this is about the Prime Minister’s promise and his answer yesterday that the Labor Party had not received money from the CFMEU. We have asked him to explain why Kevin Reynolds said they had received $40,000. If the Prime Minister needs to check, he should come back into the House and explain—

The SPEAKER —The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. The Prime Minister will respond to the question.

Mr RUDD —When the honourable member actually refers to particular amounts of reported donations, she should reflect fully and carefully on the laws the opposition are blocking in the Senate to bring about decent campaign finance reform. That is one of many which are currently lying in the Senate. Those opposite, frankly, are not committed to reform at all. On the question of fundraising, I simply quote, as I believe the Minister for Finance and Deregulation did before, a certain Godwin Grech in his email to, it seems, ‘MT’ or someone like that:

I am also doing some fundraising for MT—he tells me the cupboard is bare.

The SPEAKER —Order! The Prime Minister will bring his answer to a conclusion.

Mr RUDD —Mr Speaker, can I suggest that those opposite engage in fundamental commitment to finance reform.