Mark Latham managed to shame the Liberal Party into handing back their
2004-05 donation from James Hardie, but his ethical stand to reject
tobacco company donations did not stop the Coalition from cashing in.

British America Tobacco, which was chaired by Nick Greiner for many
years, gave the Federal Liberals $75,000 while Philip Morris gave
$35,000 but then also splashed around a further $10,000 to most of the
individual state divisions. All up, the Latham policy gave the
Coalition a $200,000 head start so it will be interesting to see
whether Kim Beazley abandons it.

Latham’s ethics did not extend to persuading his party to surrender the
outrageous Centenary House leasing deal in Canberra and John Curtin
House made the largest single contribution after public funding with
$3.05 million going into the 2004 campaign fund.

Meanwhile, the NSW ALP remains an ethics free zone as gambling, liquor
and development interests once again dominated and the Victorian ALP
has abandoned its policy of refusing contributions from licensed gaming
companies. It really is outrageous that Tattersall’s can give $30,000
just as the Bracks government is deciding whether to renew its
lotteries monopoly.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey