Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Questions without Notice
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?
Opposition senators interjecting—
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?
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.