The Australian Electoral Commission donations dump today reveals minor parties are flush with donations from eager candidates and elected representatives, but some also have the backing of big unions and businesses.

As Clive Palmer exited Parliament and his party effectively collapsed in the lead-up to the last election, Palmer’s mining businesses continued to pump money into the party, with Mineralogy, QN Resources and QN Metals, along with Palmer himself and PUP candidate Suellen Wrightson pumping over $2.2 million into the party.

As the Greens already disclosed last year, the biggest donations to that party came from mathematician Duncan Turpie and investor Graeme Wood, each tipping in $500,000.

Climate change sceptic Ian Plimer pumped $85,000 in total into Family First (which got $40,000) and the Liberal Democratic Party ($45,000). South Australian businessman Roostam Sadri — who was referred to the AFP by the Australian Electoral Commission over an agreement to sit at the top of the party’s Senate ticket in exchange for a donation — was the biggest donor to the Liberal Democrats at $200,000. Senator David Leyonhjelm donated $50,000 to the party, and candidate Sam Kennard donated $22,900. The libertarian party took $20,000 from cigarette company Philip Morris, which also donated $14,800 to the Nationals. As Leyonhjelm pushes for easing up on gun restrictions, the Sporting Shooters’ Association donated $15,856 to the LDP. 

Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson loaned her party $190,000 in the run-up to the election, according to the donation disclosures.

Jacqui Lambie’s party, the Jacqui Lambie Network, took $25,700 donations from the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers, and $25,000 in donations from the Electrical Trades Union, along with $40,000 in donations, in total, from various organisations associated with wealthy businessman Ian Melrose.

Melrose also gave $100,000 to Nick Xenophon Team through Golden Lineage.

The party of Queensland MP Bob Katter, who was opposed to the government’s ABCC legislation, received $25,000 in donations from the CFMEU and also received $75,000 from the Sporting Shooters’ Association. The CFMEU also gave John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party $19,932.

Senator Derryn Hinch donated $16,000 to his own party, which also received $15,000 from Ross Garnaut.

Christian Democratic Party candidate Nella Hall put close to $200,000 into her failed bid to win a Senate seat in New South Wales. The fight within the CDP resulted in Fred Nile’s wife, Silvana Nero-Nile, running for the Senate in Tasmania instead. Nero-Nile donated $15,000 to the party but also failed to win a seat.

Garbage business JJ Richards and Sons donated $25,000 to the far-right Australian Liberty Alliance.

Peter Fray

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