AEC data shows total payments to political parties hit $1 billion; Greens call for real reform

Thursday, February 2, 2017 | Lee Rhiannon

The Greens' Democracy for Sale project has found the total amount of declared donations and payments made to Australian political parties since 1998 has topped $1 billion.

"The Greens strongly support adopting much timelier reporting of donations and payments, and lowering the threshold for disclosure," Greens spokesperson for democracy Senator Lee Rhiannon said.

"We have called for both of those things for a long time and we will continue to. But we need to go much further.

"More transparency is absolutely needed, but it does not stop the cosy relationship between vested interests and political parties. Only bans and strict caps on donations and election expenditure will achieve that.

"Transparency alone will not stop the Parakeelia spin cycle, it won't stop resource companies sending millions to the major parties and it won't cork the flow of money for influence from other vested interests.

"If we tackle transparency and overseas donations but leave it at that then we will still have a very broken system.

"Prime Minister Turnbull is so contemptuous of the public that he has used a system that he knows is opaque and inadequate - a system that his party refuses to reform - to his advantage. That tells us a lot more about him than the exact figure he has handed over.

"There is no question that our donations system needs to be thoroughly reformed, and the Greens will continue our push for this when parliament resumes next week."

The Greens Democracy for Sale project has organised the total payments to political parties for the 2015-16 period by category:

Accounting/Advisory

$975,556

Advocacy/Lobbyist

$2,060,779

Alcohol

$161,800

Computing

$143,468

Education

$71,894

Energy Companies

$228,483

Entertainment

$721,950

Financial/Insurance

$2,972,550

Food/Pastoral

$824,399

Gaming

$504,670

Hotels/Clubs

$322,809

Individual

$6,807,547

Industrial/Manufacturing

$1,174,009

Intra Political Party

$20,000

Law Firms

$360,911

Local Government/Councillor

$25,000

Media/Communications

$462,280

Non Categorised

$581,500

Pharmaceutical/Health

$788,645

Political Party Affiliates

$20,800

Property

$3,326,181

Public Relations

$16,090

Resource Companies

$1,773,621

Retail & Service

$465,282

Sports

$75,000

Tobacco

$34,940

Transportation

$530,442

Unions

$1,800,919

Waste/Water Mgmt

$63,600

Business/Consulting

$394,755

Engineering

$82,057

Grand Total

$27,791,937

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Media contact: Freya Newman 0411 669 022