Australia PM 'donated A$1m to own campaign'

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared victory for his conservative coalition on Sunday

Australia's prime minister has evaded questions about a reported A$1m (£570,000, $770,000) donation to salvage his re-election campaign.

Malcolm Turnbull declared victory for his ruling Liberal-National coalition on Sunday.

The Australian newspaper reported Mr Turnbull made the donation to compete with the opposition Labor Party's union-bolstered TV ad spend.

The seven-figure donation was made in the final weeks of the campaign.

Mr Turnbull and party officials did not deny the payment had taken place when questioned by the media.

"Donations to the Liberal Party are disclosed in accordance with the requirements of the Electoral Act," the prime minister's office said.

The Australian said the Liberal Party's Campaign finances had dried up after Mr Turnbull challenged former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese criticised the prime minister and his "desperate" party.

"I wish we had someone who had a lazy million dollars sitting in the corner that could just plonk into the campaign," he told the Nine Network. "We don't have it."

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Liberal frontbencher Kelly O'Dwyer said that party members were free to make donations.

"We say to individuals, look, if you want to contribute to our campaign you can do that," she said.

The Australian's report said proposed changes to the country's pension scheme may have alienated wealthy Liberal donors who might otherwise have donated to the prime minister's campaign.

After a lacklustre election result, the prime minister is now facing opposition from his backbench and some senior ministers over the planned reforms.

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