Detailed Donor Categories

The categories assigned to donors 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.

Category Description
wdt_ID Category Description
1 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.
2 Advertising Agencies Advertising agencies and market research.
3 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.
4 Alcohol Breweries, distilleries, wineries and other businesses involved with the manufacturing, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages.
5 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.
6 Business / Consulting Business and management consulting companies.
7 Computing Computer manufacturers, software companies and information technology service providers.
8 Defence Industry Manufacturers and suppliers of military equipment and materials.
9 Education Organisations in the education industry, such as universities, private schools, private colleges, for profit private education institutions.
10 Energy Companies involved in such activities as purchasing oil/gas/or other energy, distribution of energy, and marketing of energy products.


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