How Kevin Rudd helped snag China donor’s $100k

 

At the height of the 2013 federal election campaign, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Bob Carr helped NSW Labor Party boss Jamie Clements woo a powerful Chinese donor in order to solicit a $100,000 donation.

The Saturday Telegraph can also reveal now-exiled Chinese businessman Huang Xiangmo and others linked to the Beijing-backed Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification in China (ACPPRC) gave the NSW ALP more than $850,000 in the year leading up to the 2013 election - far more than the half a million dollars floated by Mr Clements at ICAC.

Then-foreign minister Bob Carr with PM Kevin Rudd on the eve of the 2013 federal election.
Then-foreign minister Bob Carr with PM Kevin Rudd on the eve of the 2013 federal election.

The meeting involving Mr Rudd, Mr Carr and Mr Clements took place on a Saturday night in a suite at the five-star Park Hyatt hotel in Canberra a fortnight before polling day in 2013.

Mr Rudd and Mr Carr had just come from a meeting of the National Security Committee of Cabinet to discuss Syria on August 24 when they joined Mr Clements to meet a wealthy Chinese Australian donor.

The donor could not speak English but had his son present, who was able to act as a translator.

Mr Clements invited Mr Carr to join the meeting at the last minute, telling him he hoped the donor would give $100,000 to the ALP.

Jamie Clements leaves during a break at the ICAC public inquiry into allegations concerning political donations on Thursday. Picture: Joel Carrett
Jamie Clements leaves during a break at the ICAC public inquiry into allegations concerning political donations on Thursday. Picture: Joel Carrett

Mr Rudd helped woo the donor by speaking to him in Mandarin, while Mr Carr prompted the Prime Minister with topic suggestions, such as the latest discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a free-trade agreement.

In response to questions from The Telegraph, a spokesman for Mr Carr said he could not recall who the donor was.

"Professor Carr does not recall the identity of the donor, as it was six years ago, but can confirm that it definitely was not Huang Xiangmo," the spokesman said.

"Perhaps others at the meeting will be able to confirm who it was."

Mr Rudd was not able to respond to questions about the identity of the donor by the time of publication.

China's Vice President Xi Jinping talks with then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2010.
China's Vice President Xi Jinping talks with then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2010.

Mr Carr does, however, record the meeting in his 2014 memoir Diary of a Foreign Minister.

"I get a call from Jamie Clements, the new General Secretary of the NSW ALP asking me whether I want to catch up with him. He says he's got a big donor who will be meeting Kevin later in the night, an Australian-Chinese who intends to be generous to the party," Carr wrote.

"I've got nothing else to do so I go over to the Park Hyatt hotel and join them in the suite. A donation, apparently of $100,000. We chat and then, as planned, the Prime Minister arrives.

"Sitting on the couch next to me, he seeks permission to talk in Mandarin because our new friend doesn't speak English, although his son does.

"I suggest Kevin tell him about his conversations with President Xi on a free-trade agreement. Later I suggest he mention the opening of our Consulate General in Chengdu. Levitated into this space - out of the campaign hubbub - the Prime Minister is briefly inhabiting a placid space."

Former NSW Labor MP Ernest Wong and Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo. Picture: Facebook
Former NSW Labor MP Ernest Wong and Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo. Picture: Facebook

Australian Electoral Commission records for 2012-13 show the Yuhu Group gave $200,000 to the NSW ALP in two separate donations.

Huang Xiangmo, registered to the same 12 Devonshire Street, Chatswood, address as Yuhu Group, gave $150,000 to NSW Labor using his legal name of Huang Changran.

A company selling tobacco imports, Wei Wah International Trading, donated another $200,000. This was a company of Peter Chen's who is also a former business associate of Huang Xiangmo and a director of Yuhu Investment Holdings and a member of ACPPRC.

Another Chinese business figure Luo Chuangxiong, a member of the ACPPRC and a member of the Australian Guangdong Chamber of Commerce gave $150,000.

 

The Australian Chinese Teo Chew Association gave $100,000. Its chairman Frank Chou is a life-senior honorary adviser to the ACPPRC. Meanwhile, William Chiu, the original founder of ACPPRC, gave $50,000.

This is, in total, $850,000 provided to the NSW ALP in a single year from associates and figures linked to Huang Xiangmo or the ACPPRC.

Meanwhile, parliamentary pecuniary interest records show Huang Xiangmo gave Chris Bowen a bottle of Penfolds Grange in 2013 while he gave Bill Shorten two bottles, which Mr Shorten subsequently donated to charity groups.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.