Serious donations reform is needed now to make sure our political system works for the benefit of all Australians, not just those with the biggest wallets.

The fossil fuel industry directly donated more than $85.7 million to Australian political parties in the 2018-19 financial year, highlighting the need for serious reform of the political donations system, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

The political party returns for 2018-19, released today, reveal:

  • The biggest fossil fuel donor was Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy, which donated $83,681,442 to Palmer’s United Australia Party.
  • The biggest donor to the major parties was gas company Woodside, which donated $135,400 to Labor and $147,940 to the Liberal National Coalition.
  • The fossil fuel industry in total donated $85,719,747 to Australian political parties. Excluding donations to the United Australia Party (UAP), fossil fuel industry donations totalled $1,894,024.
  • The top three fossil fuel industry donors, excluding Clive Palmer linked companies, were Woodside, Adani (through Adani Mining and the Carmichael Rail Network Trust) and the gas industry lobby group Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA). These donated a total of $692,299.

Which party was the big fossil fuel winner?

  • The Coalition received the most from fossil fuel industries, receiving a total of $1,147,376.
  • However, Labor received $725,448 in donations from fossil fuel industries.
  • Woodside was the largest fossil fuel donor to the Liberal Party, donating $137,750.
  • Woodside was the largest fossil fuel donor to Labor, donating $135,400.
  • Adani (through Adani Mining and the Carmichael Rail Network Trust) was the biggest donor to the Nationals, donating $121,800.

The opaque money

  • Federal Labor disclosed a total of $49,995,144 in receipts, but only provided the details for $48,162,246.
  • The federal Liberal Party disclosed a total of $48,196,905 in receipts, but only provided the details for $43,980,577.
  • The federal National Party disclosed a total of $3,099,872 in receipts, but only provided the details for $1,042,174.
  • Between the parties, $8,106,924 of receipts have undisclosed sources; however, when state branches of the parties are taken into account, the sources of more than $102 million of donations remain undisclosed.

“This political donations data reveals the influence of the fossil fuel industry in Australia’s political system,” said ACF’s Economy and Democracy Program Manager Matt Rose.

“This data explains why even in the face of a rolling national emergency driven by climate change and community demands for change, the Government continues to defend and promote the industries that are the root cause of the problem.

“Serious donations reform is needed now to make sure our political system works for the benefit of all Australians, not just those with the biggest wallets.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@mail.acf.org.au