News has emerged overnight that the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the peak body representing community pharmacies across the country, donated $15,000 to One Nation in Queensland last year. But pouring money into the coffers of Australia’s political parties is not new for the guild. In recent years, the body has given millions to Labor, the Liberals and the Nationals. Donations are just one element of the guild’s political operation. With members (i.e. pharmacies) in every electorate in the country, and huge control over the provision of medication, the guild has been able to quietly gain a hold over Australian politics, making it one of Australia’s most feared lobby groups.
Who does it donate to?
The Pharmacy Guild plays the donation game as well as anyone. Its contributions are big, regular and bipartisan. According to the Australian Electoral Commission’s annual returns, it made over $220,000 worth of donations in 2017-2018. Over half of this went to the ALP, with the rest going to the Liberals and Nationals. The guild’s donations have sat above the $200,000 mark since the 2015-2016 financial year (although in the past, they have given more to the Coalition than Labor).