Queensland has never been so relevant to federal politics, and the latest political donations data shows it.
Money flowed generously into the coffers of the Queensland branches of the major parties ahead of the state election in October. But it wasn’t always a case of money winning votes.
Once again Queensland was home to the country’s biggest donor, Clive Palmer. Palmer’s company Mineralogy pumped nearly $6 million into his spoiler United Australia Party campaign. The party failed to win even 1% of the vote, even after bombarding voters with ads dominated by unsubstantiated claims of a Labor “death tax”.
The LNP was also plump with cash, with a $10.3 million war chest of disclosed donor payments. Sunshine Coast developer Altum Property Group handed over $1.6 million, making it the biggest single contributor to the party.
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Altum has been lobbying the government over a $2 billion development on Great Keppel Island in Central Queensland. Businessman Geoffrey Thomas also handed the party $50,000.
Labor went into the election with $7.7 million in disclosed donations. Its biggest donors were the United Workers Union ($201,000), the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ union ($185,000) and the Australian Workers’ Union of Employees Queensland ($113,000). It disclosed almost no corporate donations.
The Queensland Greens received $2.8 million, with the biggest single contribution coming from Duncan Turpie, a professional gambler and “secretive maths genius” who handed the party $100,000.
The Greens managed to steal the only seat lost by Labor on election night — the seat of former deputy premier Jackie Trad in South Brisbane.