A mystery 26-year-old Liberal donor who gave $100,000 to the party in 2015 is linked to large Chinese developer R&F Properties.
The donation, on par with that from Kerry Packer’s widow, Ros, to the party, was revealed in the Australian Electoral Commission’s disclosures this week, simply giving Jiandong Huang’s name and a residential address.
Industry sources have told The Australian Financial Review that Mr Huang, who is the director of the little known Australian Star Tower Holdings, is a relation of Tiger Huang, who, along with another senior manager, was sent to Australia to set up a wing of Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed R&F Properties.The other senior member of R&F Australia is Jing “Jim” Lu, who works closely with Tiger Huang.
Property heavyweight R&F Properties, which owns a soccer club, is based in Guangzhou and has a market capitalisation of $5 billion. The company builds residential and commercial properties in China, with recent expansions to Malaysia and Australia.
The group has been aggressive in its property acquisitions in Australia. It spectacularly bought a site at 1 Cordelia Street in Brisbane from Metro Property Development in 2014 for $46 million – more than twice what Metro had paid. The company plans to redevelop it into a triple tower containing 568 apartments and commercial sites.
It paid $60 million for the Kinnears Ropeworks factory site in Melbourne and has proposed 1400 units there.
In 2015 it also bought a Brisbane waterfront site for $82.5 million – more than three times what DEXUS Property Group sold the property for in 2013.
The group said in 2015 it had plans to spend $500 million acquiring sites in Australia over the next five years.
In 2015 mystery surrounded a donor named Zi Chun Wang, who gave $850,000 to the Labor Party in 2013-14. The Australian Financial Review revealed he was Ever Bright Group’s deputy general manager. In financial 2015, the company switched sides and donated $200,000 to the Liberal Party.
While unions contributed more than $1.7 million to Victorian Labor in the year ended June 30, helping Daniel Andrews become premier, the largest single donation was from Jianping Fu and Min Zhang, a couple from Brighton, who donated $200,000.
Overall, political donations to the main parties dropped in 2014-15, with financial receipts totalling about $179 million – a $100 million drop on the previous year.
Liberal Party receipts dropped 39 per cent from $125 million in financial year 2014 to just $76 million last year.