$ 50 million in secret political donations

Of the $ 170 million in revenue paid to political parties last year, the source of $ 49.55 million is withheld.

The annual measure peaked in 2018-19, before the last federal election, at $ 114.2 million.

“The last election set records for money raised and money hidden,” Mr. Whealy said. “Reform is needed now to make funding for the next elections transparent.

“Most states have a disclosure threshold of $ 1,000. The Commonwealth disclosure threshold of $ 14,300 is irrelevant.

“There is little ongoing analysis or applications to ensure that donation returns are complete. The AEC needs more resources and expertise to make our disclosure system work properly.

The former New South Wales Supreme Court justice and deputy commissioner of the New South Wales Independent Anti-Corruption Commission has called for a series of reforms to political donation laws, including a $ 1,000 reporting threshold and real-time disclosures.

Among the proposals put forward by the center are broadening the definition of political donations to include income from party fundraising, corporate sponsorship and business forums, certain dues and gifts spent on election expenses.

Labor and Greens both support a $ 1,000 reporting threshold, but there appears to be little appetite for immediate changes in the current federal parliament. The Tasmanian Independent Jacqui Lambie wants the source of the unknown gifts to be revealed.

The center previously revealed that resource companies made political donations worth nearly $ 140 million over two decades, making them the largest source of money for political parties.

The real estate industry was the source of $ 54.2 million in donations over the same period, with the Liberals taking about twice as much as Labor.

This month, the ACS donation revelations show billionaire businessman Clive Palmer was once again Australia’s largest political donor last year, spending $ 5.9 million on fund his Australia-United party in the state of Queensland elections.

Financial journalist Visy and Rich Lister mogul Anthony Pratt donated $ 1.3 million to the Liberal Party through its Pratt Holdings, as well as $ 250,000 to the Nationals.

Advertising industry figure Harold Mitchell said wealthy donors have evaded disclosure rules by donating through companies set up to fund parties.

“You could put it through one of their weird groups and nobody would know,” he said. The Australian Financial Review. “You can donate and your name is gone. “

The coalition has received a total of $ 59 million in donations in the latest disclosures, ahead of Labor with more than $ 50 million in the period. The Greens received around $ 19 million.