It will come to no surprise that there are businesses that donate to Australian politicians. Election campaigns are costly and while some of it is subsidised if the person wins their election it can still cost quite a bit. But where does the money come from? You? No. Just like the American political system that gets a lot of criticising, the money comes from big business.
There are huge differences between the American and Australian political systems, but it seems one trend is very popular among them both and that is the major parties accepting a large amount of “donations” from large businesses who may or may not also be looking for a “return on investment.”
While due to transparency laws being not that transparent, the exact figure could be a lot more than the study has found. The lead researcher behind political donations, Monash University’s Dr Charles Livingstone told ABC, “It’s very hard to know because disclosure laws in Australia are very opaque”. He continued, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was twice or three times as much as been declared, at least.”
With that claim in mind, the fact that the number he has come up with is just under $1billion is still alarming. The biggest donator being Clive Palmer’s Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd, which is now in liquidation. The company donated $21,664,196 to Palmer’s own Palmer United Party as well as Liberal and National. Another of Mr Palmer’s companies, Mineralogy Pty Ltd, donated $14,692,636 to Palmer United as well as Liberal and National parties.
Village Roadshow Entertainment donated $5,022,263 to both Liberal and Labor when the government was pushing for digital piracy reforms. Many Film studios enjoy massive tax breaks for filming in Australia.
Labor and The Greens are pushing for donation reform in the New Year because they feel the public is becoming more cynical about politics and the influences big business has. Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon told ABC straight, “The political donations regime in Australia is not only a mess, it’s open to corruption”.
What do you think about this information? Does Big business need to stay away from politics or is this just “business as usual”?