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Former Australian PM under campaign donation scanner

Posted on Mar 21 2014 | IANS

Sydney, March 21 : Australia's Labour Party number crunchers are questioning why an AUSD 200,000 (about USD 181,000) election campaign donation ended up in former prime minister Kevin Rudd's electorate account.

The donation, one of the largest during Labour's 2013 campaign, was made Sep 3 allegedly by a Taiwanese businessman, identified as Kung Chin Yuan, the Brisbane Times reported Friday.

Under the electoral donation guidelines of the Australian state of Queensland, a donation of AUSD 100,000 or over has to be declared within seven days.

It was alleged that the AUSD 200,000 donation was not declared.

A spokeswoman for Rudd, however, said all campaign disclosure steps were taken and referred all inquiries to the state and federal Labour Party offices.

The report, citing sources, said a smaller donation, allegedly from the Taiwanese businessman was originally sought for Rudd's local Griffith (his constituency) campaign.

However, after Rudd became prime minister again June 26, 2013, Kung's alleged donation ended up much larger than anticipated.

"People don't make AUSD 200,000 donations to branch accounts, it just doesn't happen," the newspaper quoted a person, not mentioning his name, as saying.

Terri Butler, Labour Party's replacement for Rudd in the federal parliament for the Griffith seat, said she only became aware of concerns over the scale of the donation last week.

Butler said she sent a proxy to the party's administrative committee meeting Wednesday night to discuss two issues, one of which was the concerns over the donation.

"I know it was on the agenda yesterday (Thursday), but really what I've read in the paper this morning is all I know about what happened at the meeting," she said.

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