Political parties are getting funds from Australia’s richest people, data reveals

Political parties are getting funds from Australia's richest peopl

Australia’s big corporates and rich individuals donated huge sums of amounts to  political parties in the last election that happened last year. The mining billionaire Clive Palmer dominated campaign donations by financing his political party with $117 million to secure a seat in the Senate.

The other millionaires like Anthony Pratt, Trevor St Baker, Graeme Wood, Duncan Turpie, and Isaac Wakil also funded political parties in the last election. On Wednesday, an annual disclosure was released by the Australian Electoral Commission revealing the funds statement spent by the political parties.

Pratt contributed $1.962 million to Labor through his family company, Pratt Holdings, and the same amount to the Liberals and Nationals in the year that ended June 30. In contrast, the previous year, his company donated $1.3 million to the Liberals and Nationals and only $10,000 to Labor.

Wakil, a cultural philanthropist and a businessman who built a property portfolio, gave 1 million dollars to the Liberals through his company Sugolena, ¼ of the amount given to the same party at the 2019 election.

The nation’s top mining businessman Gina Rinehart backed the election by donating $24,500 to the Liberal Party through her company Hancock Prospecting.

Graeme Wood, the founder of the travel site Wotif and a big supporter of the Greens in the past, donated $20,000 to The Local Party. He made headlines by funding the Greens $1.7 million in 2010.

St Baker, whose company sold the Vales Point coal-fired power station last year, gave $60,500 and $3750 to Labor and the liberal democratic party respectively.

Four of the seven biggest political donors were supporters of the teal independent movement that won six lower house seats, all previously held by inner-suburban Liberals, and one Senate position, won by the ACT’s David Pocock.

Simon Holmes donated $1.86 million to candidates. Atlassian co-owners Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brooks donated $1.5 million and $1.16 million, respectively. Cannon-Brooks’ charity Boundless Earth also donated $1.16 million. The tech billionaires donated to Climate 200 and the campaign of David Pocock.

Sydney pub baron owner Justin Hemmes donated $400,000 to Liberal Party divisions.

The Plumbers Union donated $1.43 million to the party. The Rail, Train, and Bus Unions donated $278,000, and the Australian Workers Union donated $171,000. Other Labor-aligned organizations that made large donations included $386,000 from law firm Maurice Blackburn and $179,000 from lobbying firm Anacta Strategies.

Alcohol companies donated $2.15 million to the major parties. This is according to an analysis by the Alliance for Gambling Reform and Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education lobby groups. The money was evenly split between the Coalition and Labor.

Tobacco company Philip Morris donated $55,000 to the National Party and pro-vaping Liberal Democrats.

Fossil fuel companies were among the biggest corporate donors during the year, donating nearly $2 million. Adani Mining gave $107,000 to the Liberal National Party and nothing to other parties seeking support for a vast coal mine in Queensland.

Gas exporter Woodside, which disputed with the government over rules to keep more gas for the local market, gave $68,150 to Labor and $41,780 to the Liberals and Nationals.

Santos is seeking political support from both major parties to develop the Narrabri gas field in northern NSW, fiercely opposed by the Greens, giving $83,360 to Labor and $70,300 to the Liberals and Nationals.

Chevron gas exporters donated $45,470 to Labor and $47,620 to the Liberals and Nationals.

Whitehaven Coal, the country’s biggest coal exporter, donated $34,500 to the Liberals and Nationals.

The Minerals Council of Australia, a key force in political lobbying, campaigned against the mining tax in 2010 and recorded $103,800 in payments to Labor and $129,000 to the Liberals and Nationals. Most of its funds were spent on dinners and networking events rather than donations.

The main political parties received $1.3 billion from 1999 to 2021, and the top 5 percent of donors contributed $996.7 million of the total, with the figures adjusted for inflation and presented in today’s dollars.

- Published By Team Australia News

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