The unpopularity of Tony Abbott, declining business donations and the failure of the Liberal Party to retain government in several states has left the party with diminishing prospects of successfully battling Labor in the crucial area of campaign spending.

Both major parties went into the 2016 election underdone financially. In the previous two election years, federal Labor could call on $37 million and $38 million respectively. In 2015-16, however, it received just $15.4 million. But, remarkably, that was greater than the coffers of the federal Liberal Party, which surrendered its usual fundraising dominance over Labor: it earned just $14.7 million in revenue -- down from $43 million in 2013-14 and and $36 million in 2010-11. It was the lowest election year revenue for the federal Liberals since the 1990s.