The Labor Party will again reap hundreds of thousands of dollars from business with its Budget Night dinner this year.
This year the ALP, in recognition of the changed economic environment, has adjusted its ticket prices. Like last year, it will still cost $2000 to sit with a Minister, but getting a Parliamentary Secretary — which could net you up-and-coming Mark Arbib or someone a little less prominent, like Ursula Stephens — will only cost $1000, while those willing to sup with a backbencher need only contribute $500. The ticket also gets you lunch with ALP figures on Wednesday.
While nearly all donations to the event were below the disclosure threshold of $10,500, the ALP disclosed them in its annual donations return last year while it was preparing legislation to reduce the threshold to $1000.
The list shows small fry like Australian Bight Abalone Ltd rubbing shoulders with the major lobbying firms and peak industry bodies, major corporations like Telstra, Qantas and Goldman Sachs, the ALP’s Chinese connection in Chinese property group Kingold and even the Western Bulldogs from the AFL. The list isn’t comprehensive, though, as there was no requirement to report whether attendees such as lobbying firms who purchased multiple tickets on-sold them to clients. However, it did reveal that the ALP reaped just under $300,000 from the event (significantly less than Crikey had speculated).
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The Budget is one of key fundraising events of the year, providing a rare opportunity to tap senior industry executives, peak bodies, lobbyists and NGOs from across the country who have come to Canberra for Budget Night. The Coalition will conduct a similar fundraiser on Thursday night to coincide with Malcolm Turnbull’s Budget Reply.