Australia’s Dodgy Political Donations


Labor and the Liberal/Nationals have taken over $263 million from big corporations since 2012

Parties use political donations to help fund their election campaigns and day-to-day activities. In return, corporate donors get access to politicians. They sit with them at fundraising dinners and meet with them at Parliament House.

The dodgy deals that result are evidence that the system is broken –  it gives those with money the opportunity to buy influence that the average person cannot afford.


Pay for Play

Current laws mean only ‘gifts’ need to be disclosed.If a company pays to attend Labor or Liberals’ ‘business forums’ to meet & greet ministers and MPs, it doesn’t need disclosing. These types of meetings are often referred to ‘cash for access’.

Up to 20 months later

Donations are only disclosed once a year, meaning we can wait up to 20 months to find out who is donating.

If an election was in May 2022, we won’t know who donated what until February 2023.

The Data Dump

Donations information is only released by the AEC once a year, meaning journalists and the public have mountains of information to search through.

Split the bill between the states

Donors can split their money amongst state parties, and making their overall financial contributions harder to identify if they’re below the reportable threshold for that year.

In FY2022 the threshold was $14,500

map of australia with the states highlighted

Dark Money beneath the surface

As much as 55% of donations to political parties are not disclosed. In FY22, the source of around $119 million remains hidden. Without reforms to require disclosure of this ‘dark money’, we don’t know who’s paying the big parties’ bills.