Australian PM accused of ‘buying election’

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SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was Thursday accused of “buying” his narrow election victory last year after he admitted personally gifting Aus$1.75 million ($1.32 million) to the cash-strapped Liberal Party campaign.The multi-millionaire former banker, known as “Mr Harbourside Mansion,” had repeatedly dodged questions about the issue, but changed his mind during an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “I contributed Aus$1.75 million, that was the contribution I made,” Turnbull said late Wednesday. “It’s been talked about and speculated about, so there it is.” The Sydney Morning Herald said it was the largest political donation by an individual in Australian history. Turnbull’s Liberal/National coalition was narrowly re-elected after a fiercely fought campaign last July, and the Labor opposition claimed it effectively bought power. “It stinks. Malcolm Turnbull had to buy his way out of trouble,” said shadow finance minister Jim Chalmers. Reports said the cash was used to fund television advertising, direct mail-outs and opinion polls. Turnbull is reportedly worth Aus$200 million through his previous careers as a barrister, businessman and investment banker.

AFP

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