Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Unasked Question

Donating money to political parties is a highly mysterious business. While our news media are happy to list say the top ten single donations to major parties, I've never known an Australian journalist to follow up by contacting the respective donors with a simple one-word question: why?

Until now, that is:

"A Chinese-based property company that hired former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal as its vice-chairman after he quit politics was among the largest donors to the NSW Labor and Liberal parties last financial year. According to election funding returns published by the Australian Electoral Commission on Monday, YuHu Group (Australia) donated $200,000 to the NSW branch of the ALP during 2012-13, including $100,000 in June last year. It also donated $100,000 to the NSW Liberals during the period... [T]he general manager Holly Huang, said the donations were unrelated to the [company's] planned [$200m Eastwood Shopping Centre] development as approval had been given prior to the company's purchase of the shopping centre. Ms Huang said after the company entered Australia in May 2013 'a lot of people approached us. A lot of Chinese community friends introduced us to the parties to understand how the system runs in Australia,' she said. Ms Huang said she could not comment on Mr Huang's personal donations as she only spoke for the company. YuHu's website features pictures of Mr Huang and politicians including former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and former treasurer Chris Bowen." (Ex-treasurer working for Chinese company that was major donor, Sean Nicholls, Sydney Morning Herald, 4/2/14)

Hardly a satisfactory answer I know, but at least Nicholls, for one, asked the bloody question.

I'm still waiting for a ms journalist to ask the following Israel-doting donors in particular why they lavished the following sums on the Labor and Liberal parties in the 2012-13 financial year:

Westfield Limited (Frank Lowy) $150,000 > Labor

Ubertas Group (Albert Dadon) $7,500 > Labor

Visy (Anthony Pratt) $1,500 > Labor

Pratt Holdings P/L (Anthony Pratt) $250,000 > Liberal

Westfield Limited (Frank Lowy) $150,000 > Liberal

Needless to say, I won't be holding my breath.

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