Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull dropped a cool million on securing his very slim victory in this year's election, The Australian is reporting. The money was apparently used to fund the Liberal Party's advertising push back against Labor's highly effective "Mediscare" campaign.
The Australian's report went on to claim that the tightly contested election race has sent the Liberal Party to the brink of bankruptcy. "I said at the end of 2010 that the Liberal Party was on the brink of insolvency: that was the case then and I believe it's the case now," former Liberal Party Michael Yabsley told the paper. "The fact that the Prime Minister has to put his hand in his pocket is pretty strong evidence of that."
Liberal Party federal director, Tony Nutt, denied this in a statement Friday morning, shooting back that the reporter didn't seek confirmation from the party before publishing.
"The claim in today's Australian that the Liberal Party is "either in debt or broke" is false," Nutt said, noting that all Liberal Party donations comply with the Electoral Act. This law requires all donations over $13,000 to be disclosed; however, these records will not be available until February 2017.
According to Fairfax, sources within the Liberal Party have admitted that, on top of a tightly contested race, donations dried up after Turnbull took the top job from Tony Abbott last September. "One Liberal MP said they were regularly approached and offered donations on the proviso they were not redirected to Mr Turnbull's federal campaign," Latika Bourke wrote.
Turnbull, who's thought to be worth as much as $200 million, is yet to respond to the allegations. Although it wouldn't be the first time he donated to the party—gifting $150,000 in 2002 and $140,000 during 2004-05, this time to the NSW branch specifically.
The state branch of the party has also been plagued by funding problems since the NSW Electoral Commission decided it wouldn't hand over $4.4 million in public funding, unless the party would disclose who donated $693,000 through the "Free Enterprise Foundation," a fundraiser Fairfax has labelled "controversial."