energy political donations
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Recently released Australian Electoral Commission data shows that donations from the energy sector surged in 2017-18. As the government attempted to resolve its internal climate crisis and address concerns about price-gouging, companies sought to directly influence policymakers.

Energy sector donations to the major parties increased 45% on 2016-17 and nearly 50% compared to 2015-16, despite the lack of a major election. Indeed, last year was the biggest year for energy sector donations since 2013, when US company Peabody Energy (which later sought bankruptcy protection), Caltex, Chevron and now-shuttered Linc Energy threw hundreds of thousands of dollars at the Coalition.