Former PM Kevin Rudd lashes out at ‘dishonest and defamatory’ Daily Tele headline

Former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has responded to a story that featured on the front page of Saturday’s The Daily Telegraph, stating the headline, ‘Rudd’s Cash-In’, was “dishonest and defamatory”.

The story, written by political editor-at-large Sharri Markson, suggests Rudd used his ability to speak Mandarin to help former NSW Labor general secretary Jamie Clements “woo” a Chinese donor during the 2013 election.

The article alleges that Rudd and then-Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, were invited to the Park Hyatt hotel in Canberra by Clements to discuss a $100,000 donation to the Labor party. The article reference’s Carr’s memoir Diary of a Foreign Minister, in which he recounts the meeting and suggesting that Rudd should tell the donor about his discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping about a free-trade agreement.

The donor remains unnamed in the article, however a spokesperson for Carr quoted in the article states it is not Huang Xiangmo. Huang is the subject of investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption for his alleged donation of $100,000 in cash to the NSW Labor party in 2015, breach of political donation legislation.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated that The Daily Telegraph’s headline was “defamatory”

In his response posted to Facebook on Saturday morning, Rudd stated article was a “further example of the politics of smear against anybody who dares stand up against [Rupert] Murdoch.” He also called out The Daily Telegraph’s editor, Ben English, for implying with the headline that he received ‘cash’, which Rudd claims he did not.

Rudd also stated that the paper made little effort to contact him or his office for comment.

“They did not ring my office. They did not ring me. They have our numbers,” Rudd wrote.

“They instead deliberately sent an email to my official website – not to me or my staff – and then published their story two hours later while I am on the other side of the world.”

The full story published in The Daily Telegraph on 12th October

Rudd also pointed out that the story was marked exclusive on both the front page and on page four, despite it being largely lifted from Bob Carr’s memoir which was published in 2014.

“Indeed, this ‘exclusive’ story that they have run with this dishonest and defamatory headline was so sensitive that it was openly published five years ago in Bob Carr’s book.”

Rudd concluded that he had referred the issue to his lawyers.

In a statement provided to Mumbrella, Ben English said: “At a time when the relationship between the Labor Party and Chinese political donors is the subject of ICAC investigations, The Daily Telegraph’s report today on the meeting between the party’s former leaders Kevin Rudd, Bob Carr and the Chinese businessman during the 2013 election campaign is not only newsworthy but a matter of genuine public interest.”


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