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Political donations data out: political donations up by 600 per cent in election year

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 2 Feb 2015

Click here for a link to the new Democracy for Sale site.

The Australian Greens say electoral funding data released today by the Australian Electoral Commission reveals that political donations in the 2013-2014 financial year hit a record $202 million, which is an increase of 600 per cent from the previous year.

Labor and the Coalition parties share the bulk of that money coming in with over $92 million for the Liberals and $69 million for Labor. In addition, more than 60 per cent of the donations received by the Liberal and Labor parties were not disclosed.

The Australian Greens have completed preliminary analysis of the new data.

Some highlights:
• Group Colleges Australia donated $16 000 to the Liberal Party in the lead up to the May 2014 budget - $19 000 in total. Group Colleges stands to benefit from the Abbott government's proposed higher education changes that would publicly fund private higher education companies.
* Aspen Medical donated $30 000 to the Liberal Party of Australia. There is no declaration by the donor as it is registered as an "other receipt". Aspen Medical was handed a $20 million contract by the Abbott government to address the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
* Adani, the company trying to build Queensland's largest coal mine, donated $49 500 to the Liberal Party of Australia.
* Tobacco company Philip Morris donated $45 000 to the Liberal Party of Australia.
* Coal seam gas company Santos donated $294 000 to Labor and the Coalition, including $34,000 to the Nationals.
* Clive Palmer donated $25.9 million to the Palmer United Party through various companies he controls.
* Gina Rinehart donated $25 000 to Julie Bishop's campaign through Hancock Coal Infrastructure Pty Ltd.
* Leighton Holdings, selected for first stage of WestConnex construction, donated $13 500 collectively to the Labor and Liberal Parties.
* Transurban, a company closely linked to Commission of Audit Chair Tony Shepherd donated $180 000 to the Liberal Party.

Greens spokesperson for democracy Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"It is outrageous that it has taken 18 months for the Australian public to find out who bankrolled the 2013 Federal Election.

"Again we see donations from private companies, who have gone on to receive government money, or in the case of Group Colleges Australia, a bill that if passed would see millions flow to private for profit higher education companies.

"Prime Minister Abbott should be asked why he never declared that Aspen Medical was a donor to the Liberal Party prior to announcing his decision to give the company a $20 million contract to work on the Ebola outbreak.

"This year's AEC donations data again shows that Labor and the Coalition need to back the Greens in supporting greater regulation and oversight on associated entities, earlier donations reporting and a crackdown on corporate donations.

Senator Rhiannon's office will continue to analyse the AEC data throughout the day. 

Media contact: Brami Jegan 0487 350 880


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