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“Democracy is for sale”: Charities miss out in donation records

Charities are fighting against corporations that have bought their way into the government’s pocket, the latest donation records have revealed

The latest donation records have revealed that Australian politics is now a billion-dollar business, providing a way for corporations to get away with damaging communities.

Major mining and gas groups, including Adani, have donated huge amounts to political parties, prompting not-for-profits to question how effective their campaigns will be now that corporations have paid thousands to secure a place in the government’s pocket.

Lock the Gate spokesperson, Georgina Woods, said mining companies are damaging communities and securing themselves by handing out tens of thousands of dollars to political parties that are meant to represent people living in the communities.

She said it was even more insulting because many of companies did not pay tax: “They paid no tax, and yet make these political donations, short-changing the public.”

The major parties raked in more than $154 million in public donations, asset sales and returns on investments in 2017/18. An additional $926 million was also given to their associated entities from corporations like those in mining or gas.

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Adani donated a total of $35,000 to the Liberal Party of the ACT and a further $15,000 was given to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. Whitehaven gave $35,000 to the federal Liberal Party, Glencore donated $20,000 to Katter’s Australian Party and the Minerals Council of Australia donated a total of $94,000 to Liberal, National and Labor parties.

The $15,000 given to One Nation was just described as “other receipt”.

“These companies have the cash to splash to keep politicians in their thrall. The system is clearly broken when big mining can make these massive donations while destroying communities, land and water across the country,” Woods added.

The Greens said the data revealed massive corporate donations shows “democracy is for sale” and that donation reform is desperately needed.

Spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said: “Today’s data shows the major parties are owned by the mining, gambling, alcohol, property and banking industries.”

“Just in the last financial year the major political parties have taken more than a million dollars from the fossil fuel industry, almost two million from the gambling and alcohol industry, and tens of millions from the big banks.”

She added it was “no wonder” there are still lax corporate taxation laws, tax subsidies for fossil fuel companies and no plan to transition to clean energy.

“Millions from the big mining and gas companies is why we don’t have action on climate change despite having just had the hottest month on record in Australia, flooding in Far North Queensland right now, and catastrophic bushfires in Tasmania.”

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