The Liberal/Nationals

The Liberal and National Parties have taken over $80 million in corporate donations since 2012.

This money has come from some of our most powerful businesses, like Westpac and Woodside, and our most influential industries, like property developers, professional lobbyists and the coal and gas industry.

These companies donate for a reason: favourable policy decisions. While the major parties continue to take money from big corporate interests, they will never be completely focused on what is good for Australian communities.

These are the industries seeking to influence the policy decisions of the Liberal and National parties:

  Banking and Finance Industry $33,803,653
  Developers and Property Industry $15,589,093
  Energy and Resource Companies $9,201,693
  Government Contractors $6,880,807
  Private Health Industry $6,363,000
  Food and Agriculture $6,144,699
  Hotels, Clubs and Alcohol $5,237,309
  Retail and Services Sector $3,656,528
  Media and Communications $3,649,757
  Manufacturing and Heavy Industry $3,646,207
  Gambling Industry $1,842,961
  Lobbying Firms $1,814,134
  Consultancies and Law Firms $1,025,937
  Tobacco and Firearms $334,174

And that’s what we know about

The vast majority of money received by the Liberal and National parties is Dark Money: secret money from untracable sources which the party is able to avoid reporting on. 

There are three big problems with dark money.

  1. Loopholes in our donations laws allow the major parties to claim money received as “other receipts”, because it isn’t a ‘gift’, it is a contractual exchange such as a $10,000 a head ‘business lunch’ with lobbyists and industry.
  2. Major parties employ sneaky tactics to hide the source of donations – like using a political front group (like the Cormack Foundation) to host fundraising events. The corporate donor pays the front group and the front group then pays the political party to “wash the donations” and hide the influential donor.
  3. Our lax donation laws allow donors to split donations between state and federal entities below the $13,500 donation cap. That means over $100,000 can be donated each year without disclosure. If it’s below the disclosure limit, then the AEC has no legal power to investigate it.

All of these tactics are employed to make it as difficult as possible for anyone to work out where the money – money that’s intended to influence political decisions – came from.

Liberal/Nationals top corporate donors since 2012:

Donor Value Category
wdt_ID Donor Value Category Donations Made
1 Westpac Banking Corporation 13,903,125 Banking and Finance Industry 2012 - 2018
2 National Australia Bank 5,165,028 Banking and Finance Industry 2012 - 2018
3 Village Roadshow Limited 1,550,923 Media and Communications 2012 - 2018
4 Pratt Holdings Pty Ltd 1,375,000 Manufacturing and Heavy Industry 2012 - 2016
5 Hong Kong Kingson Investments 1,350,000 Developers and Property Industry 2013 - 2016
6 Macquarie Group Limited 1,234,670 Banking and Finance Industry 2012 - 2018
7 Manildra Group 1,187,424 Food and Agriculture 2012 - 2018
8 AUS GOLD MINING GROUP PTY LTD 1,127,894 Energy and Resource Companies 2015 - 2018
9 PricewaterhouseCoopers 1,008,968 Government Contractors 2012 - 2018
10 Australian Hotels & Hospitality Association 965,469 Hotels, Clubs and Alcohol 2012 - 2018