18 Mar. 2008

Rudd And AustChina: "It's Personal"

Just days after being elected prime minister, Kevin Rudd met up with Beijing AustChina Technology founder Ian Tang in Brisbane. Here's how Rudd explains it:
"It was in November, December, something like that, in Brissie, 10 or 15 minutes, cup of coffee, hello how are you. I've known this guy for quite some time. It was a personal meeting."
Not good enough, Kev. As Nigel at RosettaMoon notes, Rudd might want to check those ministerial guidelines that he rolled out last November. Nigel has also investigated AustChina and found some links to the "the defence, security and intelligence sectors". The taxpayers deserve to know what's going on.

AustChina paid for Mr Rudd to visit the United States, Britain, China and Sudan in 2006. Wayne Swan and Agriculture Minister Tony Burke, who also got free overseas trips from AustChina, have also met with Ian Tang since the election. The company has emerged as Australia's fourth biggest corporate political donor. They apparently donated $158,000 to the NSW ALP last year alone!

I don't want to read too much into this. A lot of stuff is coming from unreliable sources like Andrew Bolt. But Rudd clearly needs to come clean and cut all further ties between his government and Ian Tang. As Nigel says:
Does [Rudd] plan to represent the interests of ‘Australia’ or is he beholden to promises and obligations extending from his ever expanding folio of global business connections?
Please explain.

LATE UPDATE: Kev tries to make the problem go away by offering to consider increased travel funds for Opposition MPs. That will probably keep the opposition quiet - now what about the press?