(Image: Wikimedia)

It appears that all of Australia’s major accounting firms hedged their bets as to who would win the 2019 federal election, with each largely splitting donations down the middle for the Labor Party and Liberal Party, with most tossing a small amount to a National Party branch for good measure. 

The Big Four firms — PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young — receive billions of dollars from taxpayers each year thanks to government contracts; political donations are less about ideology and more about making an investment in future income security.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which brought in a massive $2.6 billion last year, was the biggest donor amongst the country’s four largest accounting corporations with $386,635.

Over $180,000 of this went to the ALP and Country Labor Party, while just under $200,000 went to the Liberal Party and $2,000 to the Nationals Party. 

Ernst & Young was the second highest donor with $269,758. Unlike PwC, Ernst & Young appeared to believe the ALP’s predicted win, with over $155,000 going to the Labor Party. But they didn’t discredit the Liberal Party’s potential (and eventual) victory, donating over $110,000 to the LNP, and over $1300 to the National Party. 

KPMG came in third, having made $190,540 in political donations in the last year, divvied up between just over $100,000 for the Liberal Party and just under $90,000 for the Labor Party, missing off the Nationals. 

Finally, Deloitte, who despite being the second largest firm in Australia in terms of its $2.3 billion revenue last year, only donated a total of $175,779. Over $82,000 of this went to the Liberal Party, $90,000 to the ALP, and almost $3,000 to the Nationals Party.

With total donations exceeding $1 million, it’s an increase in the Big Four firms’ political expenditure from previous years: In 2017-2018, they gave just over a combined $900,000 to the ALP and Coalition, compared to the $830,000 given in 2016-2017 despite their being no federal, Victorian or NSW election that financial year.