AEC donations data 2021-22
Big business splashed cash
The data released highlighted the big industries who splashed cash at our politicians during an election year. Hefty donations and membership fees to exclusive party forums give wealthy interests easy access to our elected representatives. Over time, access translates to influence.
Our national parliament is being treated like the stock exchange trading floor. Business people shouldn’t be able to trade political meetings and favours for financial gain – politicians are supposed to represent all of us, not just the wealthy few.
Take action to fix this mess
Australia’s campaign finance laws are woefully inadequate. At a federal level, we have no limits to the amount of money one can give and donations below $14,500 need not be declared at all. On top of that, donations data comes out only once a year – meaning some of the donations published above are almost 18 months old.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We have solutions to stop the pervasive problem of big money in our democracy.
Our decision makers can act now to change the rules so that:
- We have real-time disclosure of all donations over $2,500
- Big political donations are banned altogether
- Electoral spending by parties and corporations is limited
On Feb 1, the Australian Electoral Commission released its annual donations and spending data for politicians and parties over the previous financial year (2021-22). Using the information published on their Transparency Register, we found that big corporate donations and dark money are still dominating the Australian political landscape.
In the year of the 2022 federal election, ‘dark money’ (money with no disclosed source) reached a record breaking $119,385,655.
Our analysis found that between Labor, Liberal, National and Greens parties, 40% of the money they reported receiving was hidden as dark money.
|Party group||Total receipts||Amount disclosed||Amount undisclosed||% dark money|
|Australian Labor Party||$124,297,769||$90,536,922||$33,760,847||27%|
This adds to over one billion dollars in undeclared income that has gone to political parties in the past two decades.
Every year, the major parties line their pockets with millions of dollars in donations under the cover of darkness with no transparency as to the source of this ‘dark money’. This cabal of secrecy creates an uneven playing field and has a corrupting influence on our democracy.