Tony Windsor’s failed bid to unseat Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce at the last election had significant help from Wotif founder Graeme Wood. In donations disclosed by the Australian Electoral Commission on Monday, it was revealed Windsor had received $488,528 in donations for his July election campaign in the seat of New England, including $200,000 from Wood and $15,000 from Golden Lineage, the family investment trust held by Optical Superstore CEO Ian Melrose.

The other 7241 individual donations were below the $13,200 disclosure level and have not been revealed.

Melrose — who has taken out ads in newspapers against government policy in the past — appears not to have donated directly to NXT leader Nick Xenophon this time around, as Xenophon said he had nothing to declare. Donations could have been made to NXT.

Windsor’s former colleague Rob Oakeshott received $53,000 in donations from 40 people in his failed tilt at the seat of Cowper.

Independent MP for Indi Cathy McGowan was able to hold onto her seat — despite Sophie Mirabella’s attempt to reclaim it — with the help of $203,748 in donations from 1490 people, while independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie raised $98,460 from 175 donors.

James Matheson got $8000 from 76 donors for his quixotic attempt to unseat Tony Abbott in Warringah, while One Nation leader Pauline Hanson raised just over $2500 in donations from 14 donors.

The major caveat here is that individual donation disclosure will only reveal how much individual candidates received, so for the vast majority of candidates who didn’t run as independents, there is nothing to declare. The donations made to parties will not be released until February, where it is expected to be revealed that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull donated millions to his own party in the dying days of the campaign.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey