80s stars at PM’s budget sell to Liberals

The ‘Muscles from Brussels’ Jean-Claude Van Damme shared laughs with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.It’s the crowd you would expect at a NSW Liberals’ federal budget lunch. Sort of.
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Government ministers. Party donors. Kuwait’s ambassador to . And … a Hollywood action hero along with a 1980s film star from China.

The ‘Muscles from Brussels’ Jean-Claude Van Damme shared laughs with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, while Chinese movie legend Liu Xiaoqing sat opposite Malcolm Turnbull on the main table at Sydney’s Sofitel hotel.

A few hundred guests reportedly paid $300 each to attend the function and hear the prime minister spruik his government’s latest budget.

“Thanks to all of our supporters here today,” Mr Turnbull told the crowd before singling out the Kuwaiti ambassador and “Madame Liu Xiaoqing”.

Liu starred in more than 60 films and TV shows and was once on the Forbes top 50 rich list in China. She told US President Barack Obama she was a better actress than Elizabeth Taylor.

She has made a number of trips to in recent years including to shoot a documentary series about Sydney in 2015 for China’s second-biggest TV network.

Van Damme in 2016 spent a day in Canberra to discuss the possibility of setting up a series of animal sanctuaries in .

He met Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg seeking government assistance to bring the animals in through zoo importation programs.

While there was no mention of it in Mr Turnbull’s speech, this week’s budget offered bigger tax breaks to lure Hollywood filmmakers to .

The $140 million sweetener will effectively double the existing rebate offered for films to 30 per cent.

Treasurer Scott Morrison, meanwhile, was in Melbourne selling the coalition’s promised tax cuts and infrastructure spend at the Higgins electorate post-budget breakfast.

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