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Abbott government caught out by tobacco companies coughing up money for the Liberal Party


THE Liberal Party received $70,000 in donations from tobacco firm Philip Morris in the past financial year, with one contribution dated after a ban was imposed.

PRIOR to the September 2013 federal election the Liberal-National coalition faced pressure from Labor and the Greens to rule out accepting money from cigarette makers.

The then opposition leader Tony Abbott, a former health minister, declared on August 21 of that year tobacco industry funding was no longer welcome in his party.

Until that point, the Liberals had received more than $2.1 million over a decade from the two major tobacco companies.

But the Australian Electoral Commission, which on Monday published released the 2013/14 list of donations to political parties, revealed the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party accepted a $5000 donation from Philip Morris on August 23.

The donation was made via a Liberal fundraising body known as the Menzies 200 Club.

The Nationals accepted donations of $3300 and $20,000 from Philip Morris in February 2014.

The tobacco firm also turned its attention to the Liberal Democrats, providing $20,000 in September 2013 and $15,000 in March 2014.

Labor stopped receiving tobacco firm donations 11 years ago while the Greens have never accepted them.

Comment is being sought from the prime minister's office.