Australia’s political parties declared total receipts worth $154 million over the last financial year with the Coalition and Labor parties raking in more than $120million combined, according to the latest figures from the Australian Electoral Commission.
While Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party filed a return for $62.8million in total receipts across all its state and territory divisions, Labor fell shortly behind with a sum of $60million.
Meanwhile, the Nationals received a donation of $56,000 from the tobacco industry alone, adding to their $8.18million in total receipts.
Among the biggest donors to all of the major parties were wealthy business owners, unions, the gaming industry, clubs and hotel associations, mining companies and the tobacco industry.
The figures show the Liberals received the largest donation overall, $2.3million, from Vapold Pty Ltd in its Victorian division during the 2017-18 financial year. On top of that, they declared two donations from ANZ worth a total of $250,000, a $150,000 donation from billionaire Anthony Pratt’s company and $200,000 from the NSW Liberal division’s Cook Endeavour forum – taking the federal Liberals’ total receipts to $5,643,463.
Elsewhere, Labor received several union donations, along with donations from gambling and alcohol companies, banks and energy companies – taking their federal branch total to $11, 543, 515.
The CFMMEU national office donated around $150,000 to the Tasmanian branch of the Labor Party and addressing the large sum in a statement to reporters on Friday, Morrison reportedly said: “I see today that the CFMMEU gave Bill Shorten another million dollars. How long will Bill Shorten take the thug money from militant unions?”
Total receipts are comprised of all amounts received by the party irrespective of whether the amounts received are a donation or not. This figure includes ‘other receipts’ which are those amounts received by a party which do not meet the legislative definition of a donation, as well as sums donated or gifted to the party, returns on investments and asset sales.
The largest single donation by an individual came from WA Greens co-convener and retired professor Chilla Bulbeck, who gave $600,000 to the party. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, she made the donation on behalf of her late architect father. The Greens’ total receipts came to $12.9million overall.
Meanwhile, the Nationals accepted $56,500 from tobacco giant Philip Morris – which also gave $40,000 to David Leyonhjelm’s Liberal Democrats, and mining giant Adani donated $35,000 to the Liberal Party and $15,000 to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
While Hanson party’s total receipts came to $1.7million, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party recorded a total equalling $11,931.00 for the last financial year.
Elsewhere, the ACT branch of the Labor party’s 1973 Foundation declared $607,396 from G8 Education, but the company have since specified that it was from rent paid for a property – not a political donation.
“The amount referenced above, as was contained within the Australian Electoral Commission Report on political donations, relates to the annual rent paid by G8 Education for premises that house one of its quality early learning facilities in Sydney’s inner west,” the company’s statement said.
“G8 Education is an apolitical organisation and does not provide financial donations to any political party.”
Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect that the funds paid by G8 Education to the ACT branch of the Labor party’s 1973 Foundation were a rental payment and not a political donation.