Banks curry favour in Canberra

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From the SMH:

The big four banks outweighed the mining sector in corporate donations to the major political parties in the lead-up to last year’s election, while the Labor Party was ahead overall in the fundraising stakes by nearly $3 million on June 30 last year.

Australian Electoral Commission data show the Labor Party’s total receipts were ahead of the Liberal Party at the close of the 2012-13 financial year, at $13.8 million to $11.4 million. The Liberal Party was also in slightly more debt as it geared up for the 2013 federal election campaign.

The Cormack Foundation, a Victorian-based group that fundraises and invests in the stock market on behalf of the Liberal Party, received a total of $3.3 million in donations from corporate Australia in the 2012-13 financial year and gave $1.5 million to the party.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia gave a combined total of $938,600 during the financial year to the foundation, while National Australia Bank gave $616,693 and Wesfarmers gave $484,364.

The next-biggest donor to the Liberal Party after the Cormack Foundation was Roslyn Packer, wife of the late Kerry Packer, with a $570,000 donation.

Westpac Banking Corp gave the Labor Party its biggest single donation of $1.5 million, followed by a second donation of $750,000 and a third of $500,000. Poultry group Inghams Enterprises was the party’s second-biggest corporate donor with $250,000.

 

David Llewellyn-Smith

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

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Comments

  1. General Disarray

    We’d probably be better off getting rid of financial donations to political parties completely. Let the taxpayer fund both at a minimal level and if people want to help a party they can volunteer their time to do some door knocking, etc.

    • Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

      Whilst I agree I somehow doubt that the major parties would be willing to amend the legislation…

    • We need to get rid of political parties completely! Last I looked we electoral role talks about representatives not party hacks…

      • And who would change the legislation to get rid of political donations??????

        Isn’t it clear that the governments all over the world are very much corrupted by the national corporations? What is the name for this phenomenon?

    • Scarily enough, the absurd notion that monetary donations and free speech are interchangeable seems to be gaining more traction here.

      I think there’s a time and place for political donations, because not allowing them at all means that grassroots political change becomes somewhat limited to the individually wealthy.

      In my opinion, political donations should be:
      * Strictly allowed from natural persons only.
      * Tracked and registered (but only the amounts, not the beneficiaries).
      * Limited to a maximum equivalent to four weeks of full-time work on minimum wage per year.

      Basically, if you want to get a lot of money behind you to make a political statement, you need to be either individually filthy rich (not really any way to avoid that I can see), or you need to convince a lot of people to give you money.

      • Yes – and they should not be expanding (preferably contracting) the contribution of public money to political parties.

        The last thing any of them need, when there is compulsory voting, is a guaranteed public meal ticket.

        Limit donations to natural people up to a small limit.

        Ban corporate and union donations (union members can donate directly if they choose)

        No harm in forcing political parties to rebuild their grass root organisations if they want to splash cash around.

        Politics is supposed to be about ideas.

        All good ideas require is a bit of hot hair and elbow grease.

        As for the super rich – the limit on contributions can apply to their donations to their own electoral organisations.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        @Pfh007 Why give public money to parties at all? I say where candidates use public funds for the purposes of public awareness they should not be allowed to identify themselves as members of party A or B. Only the message and their name is needed.

        Kill the Parties! [I capitalised the last because believe me I’m not party pooper :P]

      • It is much easier to work for a bunch of corporations and vested interests, than working for all people.

      • General Disarray

        Yes, good points, drsmithy and Pfh007.

        If we could get rid of corporate and union donations that would make a huge difference.

  2. I am very wary of this “political donations” thing.
    Do we want to end up like America where you end up with the best democracy that money can buy?

    • I’m afraid we are already there. The only reason banks, mining and other large businesses donate is to buy their seat of power to make sure nothing changes. If you look at Banks and the billions of dollars net profit they make each year, the small donation helps to keep the status quo in check whilst being tax deductable. Essentially the bank uses the money they make of the citizens to position themselves in a front seat and use the politicians as puppets as they see fit.

      The only difference between Australia and America is the size (I am sure it is much the same in most developed countries)

  3. notsofastMEMBER

    I guess these donations are just all very small change when a very large taxpayer funded money printing machine has been installed at the RBA in the form of $380 Billion Committed Liquidity Facility to support the big Australian Foreign Controlled Banks should they get into trouble.

    All that needs to happen to get the money rolling in the direction of the banks is that the start button needs to be pushed. I think it also explains why the Treasurer is re-capitalising the RBA with about $10 billion. I predict we will see another big capital injection into the RBA from the Government in the not to distant future to ensure the RBAs capital reserves are adequate (which I argue are needed to be bigger than otherwise to help make up for inadequacies in the Big Australian Foreign Controlled Banks capital reserves).

    What ever…