The furore over Chinese donations has erupted in Federal Parliament after the Foreign Minister denied knowing a Chinese donor had set up a company called the “Julie Bishop Glorious Foundation”.
Labor backbencher Matt Keogh questioned Ms Bishop about Chinese mining magnate Sally Zou setting up the foundation.
“Does the Minister seriously expect the house to believe a Liberal donor who she knows well set up a company in the Minister’s name, the Julie Bishop Glorious Foundation, but never raised it with her on the many occasions that they met?” Mr Keogh asked.
Ms Bishop insisted she had never heard of such a foundation until the matter was raised with her a week ago by the media.
“I say that in the solemnity of this Parliament, I have never heard of such a foundation,” Ms Bishop said.
She said all Liberal donations were declared in accordance with the electoral commission rules.
The question came immediately after Ms Bishop had launched an attack on Labor’s agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon.
Power and influence
She told Parliament of a media report yesterday which said that when Mr Fitzgibbon was defence minister he “had a benefactor with alleged close links to a foreign intelligence service”.
“And it was also revealed that the Department of Defence had grave concerns about the minister for defence and the nature of his relationship with this benefactor and the connection with a foreign intelligence service,” Ms Bishop said.
She said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten should have demanded a security briefing about the allegations “of targeting a senior member of his leadership team by a foreign intelligence service”.
Ms Bishop said Mr Shorten’s failure to seek a briefing meant he was personally compromised on national security.
She said Labor raised the “Julie Bishop Glorious Foundation” question because it had not investigated allegations against Senator Sam Dastyari and Mr Fitzgibbon.
“I can stand here and be proud of my record — Labor is covered in shame,” Ms Bishop said.
Look back on the day’s political developments in our blog.
Labor benefited from ‘dodgy gold deals’: Morrison
Is the criticism warranted?
Treasurer Scott Morrison then told Parliament about reports Chinese businessman and ALP member Simon Zhou had donated up to $140,000 “from dodgy gold deals into the coffers of the Labor Party”.
“He was recruited to join the senate ticket with Sam Dastyari — Shanghai Sam,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Zhou was not elected.
Mr Morrison called on Labor to set the $140,000 aside in a fund that could be accessed by the Tax Office “as a result of their investigations into this gold fraud”.
“Or is the Leader of the Opposition going to hang on to Labor’s ill-gotten gains?” he asked.
The barrage of allegations continued with Labor again asking about the former trade minister Andrew Robb taking a high-paying job with Chinese company Landbridge, but the question was ruled out of order.