Feb 1, 2018

Inside the (notably low) numbers of today’s political donations dump

In an off-year electorally, the political parties had a record low in donors, as business drifts away from giving money to politicians.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The lack of elections and the growing reluctance of business to donate to political parties saw a big fall in political donations in 2016-17, with public funding the biggest source of revenue for the major parties, according to today's annual political donation data release.

The data, released under the Commonwealth's antiquated donation disclosure laws, shows just 205 donors contributed to political parties in 2016-17 -- the lowest number since the Howard government lifted the reporting threshold to reduce transparency in the mid-2000s, and nearly half the 396 donors in 2015-16. With only the West Australian election falling fully within the reporting year (the 2016 federal election was held on July 2; the ACT also had an election), the parties were more focused on paying off previous election debts with taxpayer funding. And foreign donors almost entirely disappeared, with only longstanding donor Chau Chak Wing's Hong Kong Kingson making an appearance.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Join the conversation

The Crikey comment section is members-only content. Please login or sign up for a FREE trial to engage in the commentary.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details