What’s wrong with Taiwanese political donations?

The Age last Friday put another cynical story about political donations on its front page. The gist of it is in the first paragraph:

A TAIWANESE-BORN businessman with close ties to his country’s disgraced former president paid for Kevin Rudd to travel business class to London and has donated $220,000 to the Australian Labor Party.

Julie Bishop followed this up yesterday with a call for a ‘full explanation’ of Kevin Rudd’s past privately-funded travel.

But what would a ‘full explanation’ contain?

Like most of the stories about political donations, this one is like a round-the-wrong way criminal investigation. No crime is identified, but the presence of a possible motive for crime is taken as prima facie evidence that a crime must exist.

The Age sent its journalists off on an elaborate join-the-dots search for an improper motive – Kevin Rudd and Labor are linked to Kung Chin Yuan, who is in turned linked to someone on corruption charges, with the insinuation that some otherwise obscure Taiwanese corruption scandal should taint Rudd and Labor.

I’d have thought a better starting point would be the Rudd government’s policies on Taiwan and China, and if there was something fishy there then the issue of possible explanations would arise. Continue reading “What’s wrong with Taiwanese political donations?”