Donor Categories


All donors are given a category. The categories are set out below with information on our reasoning for how donors have been grouped. We make every effort to ensure the integrity of these decisions through random checks. If you believe we have made an error in how a donor has been categorised, or if you have information that can help us categorise a company that is listed as non-categorised, please contact us.

Accounting/Advisory
Accounting and services that provide financial advice in areas of mergers, acquisitions, divestments, optimisation, debt and equity raisings. This also includes tax advisory services and auditing services.

Advertising Agencies
Advertising agencies and market research.

Advocacy/Lobbyist 
Professional political lobbyists, business organisations which lobby on behalf of the business members and professional organisations which have as one of their roles working with governments to secure benefits for their members.

Alcohol
Breweries, distilleries, wineries and other businesses involved with the manufacturing,distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages.

Associated Entities
Under federal disclosure laws an associated entity is defined as “an entity that is controlled by or operates wholly or to a significant extent for the benefit of one or more political parties”. Associated entities include companies that hold assets for a political party, trust funds or fundraising organizations groups and clubs. Associated entities are required to provide the Australian Electoral Commission with annual returns.

Business/Consulting
Business and management consulting companies.

Computing
Computer manufacturers, software companies and information technology service providers.

Defence Industry
Manufacturers and suppliers of military equipment and materials.

Education
Organisations in the education industry, such as universities, private schools, private colleges, for profit private education institutions.

Energy Companies
involved in such activities as purchasing oil/gas/or other energy, distribution of energy, and marketing of energy products.

Engineering
Companies involved in the practical application of science to commerce or industry.

Entertainment
Cinemas, suppliers to amusement parks, providers of sightseeing for tourists such as day cruises and Harbour Bridge climbs.

Financial/Insurance
Commercial banks, merchant banks, insurance companies, companies which mainly invest in equities, and companies owned by an individual or family that is used as an investment vehicle. (If the available information in that an investment company’s portfolio is mainly in property it is coded Property, if invested in energy companies it is coded Energy, and so on.)

Food/Pastoral
Companies involved in agriculture; processing of food products.

Gaming
Manufacturers of gaming machines, casinos, betting firms, race horse breeders.

Hotels/Clubs
Registered clubs, hotel chains and associated organisations.

Import/Export
Distribution of products to retailers, importers and exporters of products.

Individual
This includes people with prominent business connections who donate as individuals. Note that although they may be listed as an individual, depending on their connections, in a political sense the money may well be more properly classified as coming from a particular industry.

Industrial/Manufacturing
All manufacturers of finished products not mentioned in other specific categories, heavy industrial firms.

Intra Political Party
Donations made from one division of a party to another division, e.g. from the federal party to the state party head office, from a local branch to the state party office, or from sitting councillors.

Law Firms
Firms whose primary role is the practice of law.

Media/Communications
Newspapers, radio, television, telecommunications, publishers.

Non Categorised
Companies for which information is not available or companies that have not yet been categorised.

Pharmaceutical/Health
Private health companies, companies which own and operate private retirement villages, pharmaceutical manufacturers, dental clinics, suppliers of medical diagnostic equipment and veterinary medical operations. (If a company owns but doesn’t operate retirement villages it is coded Property.)

Political Party Affiliates
These are organisations which are associated with a political party but not classified as an Associated Entity by the Australian Electoral Commission. Such organisations typically are located in the party’s main office and share a common postal address.

Property
Property developers, construction companies, real estate agents, property consultants, architects, listed property trusts and engineering consultants for building projects.

Public Relations

Companies which assist organisations promote their products or services to the public or to manage their public image. Major functions include research, planning, communication dialogue and evaluation.

Religious Groups
Churches, synagogues, buddhist groups and other faith based organisations.

Resource Companies

Businesses mainly involved in the exploration and extraction of minerals or other resources.

Retail & Service Co.
Companies which sell products or services directly to the public including restaurants, supermarkets, funeral arrangements, etc.

Social Service Organisations
Non government organisations that provide welfare and a range of other services.

Sports
Sporting clubs and peak sporting organisations.

Tobacco
Businesses that produce tobacco products.

Transportation
Companies that move people or freight from one location to another including airlines, shipping and bus companies. (Owners of the infrastructure which is used by transport companies, such as Sydney Airports Corporation and Hills Motorway, are coded under Property.)

Unions
The different branches of unions have been combined.

Waste/Water Mgmt
Disposal and treatment of waste; treatment of water and wastewater.

Further information about the data and the categorisation

  1. The data is from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).  All political parties and candidates, and donors are required to lodge declarations for donations. The AEC requires donations over $12,800 (for 2014-15) to be disclosed, with that threshold rising yearly according to the CPI. The project uses data from political party declarations, not from the donor declarations. Donor declarations are only used in the event of a discrepancy or omission in the recipient’s returns.
  2. The AEC reports the data in categories of “Donation” and “Non Donation”.  All receipts must be declared to the AEC by political parties, irrespective of whether it is a donation or from another source.  Donations are defined as actual money and gifts in kind, whilst non donations include interest on bank accounts and tickets for fundraising dinners.  Donors do not have to declare non-donations to the AEC, although parties are required to declare their receipt of them.  The majority of income declared to the AEC by political parties is declared as ‘non-donations’. Given how much money is raised from fundraising dinners or via associated entities, both donations and non donations categories have been combined together unless the money was clearly from bank interest, a transfer of funds or something similar.
  3. The union category can combine amounts contributed by the different branches of a union.
  4. The property category includes property developers, construction companies, real estate agents, property consultants, architects, listed property trusts and engineering consultants for building projects.  However, not all companies with large property holdings have been coded into this category.  There are companies which have holdings in equities as well as property.  Those have mainly been coded into the financial category unless it could be found that the majority of their holdings were property.
  5. The financial/investment/insurance category includes commercial banks, merchant banks, insurance companies, companies which mainly invest in equities, and companies owned by one individual or family that is used as an investment vehicle. This category also includes health insurance companies.
  6. The pharmaceutical/health category includes private health companies, companies which own private retirement villages, pharmaceutical manufacturers, dental clinics, suppliers of cancer diagnostic equipment, and veterinary medical companies.
  7. The advocacy/lobby Groups category includes professional political lobbyists, business organisations which lobby on behalf of the business members, such as Clubs NSW, and professional organisations which have as one of their roles working with governments to secure benefits for their members.
  8. Retail and Service Companies category includes all those companies which deal directly with the public providing either goods or services.
  9. The non-renewable resources and energy category includes companies involved in the mining, distribution, marketing or purchasing of oil/gas/or other non-renewable energy. (Until 2014 these companies were categorised as ‘Energy’ or ‘Resources’.)
  10. Renewable Energy category includes companies involved in the distribution, marketing or purchasing of renewable energy.
  11. The public relations category includes market research companies.
  12. The associated entities category are those entities listed by the AEC, with certain exceptions. Six organisations which either gave or lent money to the NSW National Party – Comscry (No. 2092) Pty Ltd, Green and Gold Foundation, National Building Foundation, National Free Enterprise Foundation, Natpar Pty Ltd and Supporters Foundation – have been included.  All six organisations are located on the same floor as the National Party’s headquarters in Sydney and give the same PO Box as their mailing address as that of the National Party