Ex-NSW Labor boss claims Shorten knew about huge donations

 

Former NSW Labor boss Jamie Clements claims Bill Shorten "absolutely" knew about the massive Chinese donations coming in to the ALP to fund his campaign to become prime minister.

The one-time powerbroker has also taken a stab at the regimented political structure of NSW Labor, which he said was less democratic than the Chinese Communist Party.

The comments were made during an interview with The Daily Telegraph's political-editor-at-large Sharri Markson on Sky last night.

"I've spent the last four years studying China, the Chinese Communist Party, pretty closely and I have to say, that organisation is more democratic than NSW Labor under its current structure," he said.

Former NSW Labor boss Jamie Clements says Mr Shorten “absolutely” knew about massive Chinese donations. Picture: AAP
Former NSW Labor boss Jamie Clements says Mr Shorten “absolutely” knew about massive Chinese donations. Picture: AAP

Mr Clements is a key figure in the corruption watchdog's investigation into the source of a $100,000 cash donation to the party, that was banked in the days following the March 2015 state election.

The ICAC has heard allegations billionaire Huang Xiangmo personally delivered the cash to Mr Clements - who was then general secretary - in an ALDI shopping bag following a Chinese Friends of Labor fundraising dinner in Sydney which was attended by Mr Shorten and then state Labor leader Luke Foley.

Mr Huang - who was banned from donating as a property developer - has denied making the donation and Mr Clements has insisted he never received the cash.

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten attended the Chinese Friends of Labor fundraising dinner in 2015 but is not being investigated by ICAC. Picture: AAP
Former Labor leader Bill Shorten attended the Chinese Friends of Labor fundraising dinner in 2015 but is not being investigated by ICAC. Picture: AAP

When asked whether he believed Mr Shorten and other MPs knew about Chinese donations coming in to the ALP, Mr Clements said: "Of course they did, absolutely".

"At the end of the day, it was the campaigns for their seats," he said.

"It was Bill Shorten's campaigns to become prime minister those donations were funding, of course.

There is no suggestion Mr Shorten knew specifically about the $100,000 donation and he is not being investigated by ICAC.

A spokesman for Mr Shorten said: "The ICAC investigation said explicitly this investigation was not into Mr Shorten."

"He had no personal knowledge of the NSW donation splitting controversy aired at ICAC."

"Bill Shorten was the first party leader to ban foreign donations from these guys".

The spokesman pointed out Mr Huang donated to both major parties and said Liberal figures also attended lunch with the Chinese businessman.

The Chinese Friends of Labor fundraising dinner in March 2015 was attende by (L-R) Huang Xiangmo on left of Chris Bowen, Luke Foley, Labor leader Bill Shorten, Adam Searle and Ernest Wong. Picture: Facebook
The Chinese Friends of Labor fundraising dinner in March 2015 was attende by (L-R) Huang Xiangmo on left of Chris Bowen, Luke Foley, Labor leader Bill Shorten, Adam Searle and Ernest Wong. Picture: Facebook

Mr Clements also revealed to Sky that he felt beholden to unions during his time as NSW Labor general secretary.

"If you're going to ask me who were the most important people to me when I was general secretary they had to be that small group of union secretaries that had put me there," he said.

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese and state opposition leader Jodi McKay announced an independent review to overhaul the "fundamentally wrong" culture within the state party this month.

The first part of the review, conducted by former attorney-general Michael Lavarch, will be handed down next month.