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Abbott outlines political donations plan

AAP logoAAP 8/09/2016

© AAP Image/Mick Tsikas Former prime minister Tony Abbott has outlined a plan to ban unions, companies and overseas entities making donations to Australian political parties.

"We need to look long and hard at restricting donations to real people on the electoral roll," he told Fairfax Media.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has flagged banning all corporations and unions from donating, while Labor is vowing to continue its fight to stop foreign government donations.

Meanwhile, News Corp is reporting that the Chinese firm involved in paying a $1600 bill for Labor senator Sam Dastyari also made donations to the Liberal party.

Top Education reportedly gave the Liberal party $65,000 before then education minister Christopher Pyne extended the streamlined visa program from universities to the private sector.

Senator Dastyari quit as manager of opposition business in the Senate and consumer affairs spokesman after sustained pressure for allowing a Chinese donor to foot the bill for a $1600 travel overspend and reportedly taking a pro-China stance on the South China Sea at odds with Labor's position.

"I had a bill, I did not want to pay the bill myself," he told the Nine Network outside his home in Sydney on Thursday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Malcolm Turnbull has attacked Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for not sacking Senator Dastyari over the incident.

"Bereft of a leader, he had to take the sword into his own hands and dispatch himself," the prime minister told reporters on Thursday in the Laotian capital Vientiane, where he is attending the ASEAN summit.

Mr Pyne said the visa processing arrangements decision was made by the public service, not the government.

He insisted there was nothing wrong with the government receiving donations from Top Education.

"The only reason they would have been given streamlined visa processing is they, along with 20 or so other education businesses in Australia, met the requirements that the public service decided were required," he told the Nine Network.

"Nothing to do with the Liberal Party or the Labor Party for that matter, or the government of the day."

Mr Pyne said linking the company's donation with the visa changes was wrong and defamatory.

But senior Labor figure Anthony Albanese said the previous Labor government had stopped the streamlined visa program for the private sector education system because of concerns about the potential for abuse.

Meanwhile, Mr Albanese was forced to defend separate allegations he spent $3000 of taxpayer funds going to two AFL grand finals to cheer on his team, the Hawks.

He said the News Corp report was "ridiculous", insisting he had travelled to Melbourne for his regular Today show appearance, as well as to attend meetings with editors at the Herald Sun and to hold a press conference.

"I didn't charge one single dollar for transport to or from the grand final or in terms of accommodation on that night," he said.

Even Mr Pyne jumped to his defence.

"Anthony is the shadow minister for tourism - the idea that he shouldn't go to the AFL grand final is absolutely absurd.

"You have got to be sensible about this stuff. That's just ridiculous stuff."

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