Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Bob Burton

Tasmanian Liberals disclose origins of less than one-fourteenth of income

The Tasmanian branch of the Liberal Party has disclosed the origin of less than one-fourteenth of the income they received in the last financial year.

Political donations data released this morning by the Australian Electoral Commission reveals that the Tasmanian Liberals received $2,066,635 in the 2014/15 financial year but were required to disclose just seven donations totalling $145,000.

For the last financial year Australian electoral law required political parties to disclose only the names of donors who contributed over the disclosure threshold of $12,800.

In its most recent return to the AEC the Tasmanian Liberals disclosed that it received:

• $25,000 from Midgeon Holdings, the holding company of Michael Crouch, the former Chairman of Zip Industries which manufactures instant hot water heaters;

• $25,000 from Pathology Australia, a lobby group for most of the major private pathology companies which have lobbied state governments for the privatisation of public hospital pathology services;

• $20,000 from Meriton Property Services, a part of Meriton Group which is Australia’s largest residential property developer;

• $20,000 from Patrick McKendry, the CEO of the Queensland headquartered Careers Australia;

• $20,000 from Trident Security, a security and cleaning services company headquartered in Brisbane;

• $20,000 from Servcorp, a business services company headquartered in Sydney; and

• $15,000 from the Financial Services Council, a financial industry lobby group.

In the last eleven years the Tasmanian Liberals have received $17.3 million in income but publicly disclosed the origin of just $2.89 million. While some of the Tasmanian Liberals’ income is from membership fees most is likely to be from donations.

Tasmania and Victoria are the only states which don’t regulate political donations disclosure.

Bob Burton is a Hobart-based Contributing Editor of Tasmanian Times.

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Tasmanian Times (TT) is free – always has been, always will be. If you like what TT does, please make a donation.

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EARLIER on TASMANIAN TIMES …

• December 15: Will Tasmania be left as the last state without regulation of political donations?

• December 14: Who are the invisible major donors behind the Tasmanian Liberal Party?

• October 29: What happens if a major political donor doesn’t disclose?
• October 28: Who’s a Liberal donor gonna call? Rentbusters!

• October 27: The private pathology industry emerges as major Tasmanian Liberals donor

ABC: Political donations: Here’s what the latest data doesn’t tell us The Australian Electoral Commission has released its annual figures on political donations but much of the real action remains hidden due to Australia’s political donations laws, which are among the most lax in the Western world. So why don’t the figures tell the full story, and what can be done to change that? …

• Funding and Disclosure Inc. in Comments: One almost has to start by defining the word ‘donation’. When does a ‘donation’ become a ‘bribe’? … This is what Funding and Disclosure (Inc) is lobbying for. For more information: contact@fundinganddisclosure.org.au

Mercury: Tasmania’s political parties see dip in donations for last financial year ONLY small percentage of donors who contributed to Tasmanian political parties last year have had their identity made public …

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Michael Broome

    March 4, 2016 at 10:49 am

    If i donate $50000.00, Do you not think i will gain some favors for that donation ? Just a bribe ?
    New system needed me thinks.

  2. Simon Warriner

    February 2, 2016 at 1:25 am

    This whole sorry mess could be fixed, but it will never, ever happen as long as it is left to political party actors to do.

    Elect a majority of independent candidates committed to real change to the lower house and watch this, and many other party political rorts get fixed.

  3. Funding and Disclosure Inc

    February 1, 2016 at 10:06 am

    One almost has to start by defining the word ‘donation’. When does a ‘donation’ become a ‘bribe’?

    Does anybody really believe that when a business entity, perhaps needing government approval or a legislative change in order to achieve its goals, gives substantial amounts of money to political parties it is simply to “further the cause of democracy”? This may sometimes be the case but the perception in the electorate is that money buys influence and this perception is only reinforced when politicians are found to have accepted illegal ‘donations’

    Growing cynicism among voters is causing a widespread apathy that is undermining our democracy.

    It’s clear that banning donations completely is not going to happen so there’s little point in examining this if we are serious about looking for achievable outcomes. Public funding of political parties and elections is, for some, an attractive option but it’s fraught with problems of how to apportion the funds and is likely to be politically unattractive as it would be seen by many taxpayers as simply giving even more money to politicians.

    So we are left with considering how to ‘clean up’ donations.

    The simplistic view is to simply put a cap on donations and campaign spending but this would make the political system more lopsided in favour of the government of the day. Campaign finance laws restrict private political actors but not governments, the biggest political advertisers. The High Court has upheld the federal government’s power to advertise as it chooses. Though there are codes of practice for government advertising but only in the ACT do these have legislative basis.

    Two campaigns against federal governments illustrate the power of third party campaign spending: the ACTU campaign against WorkChoices and the mining companies campaign against the mining tax. Did these campaigns distort democracy or were they an integral part of the democratic system? Does it really make any difference that one campaign was managed by elected members of Trade Unions to benefit their members while the other was managed by the elected board members of mining companies to benefit their shareholders? It would seem that if campaign spending by third parties is limited government advertising should also be restricted if democracy is to flourish. If not, incumbency is even more advantageous than it already is.

    So if capping donations and restricting spending are so problematic what are we left with? Transparency and accountability.

    All donations should be disclosed.
    All donations: not just in the lead up to elections.
    All donations: not only those above an arbitrary amount.
    All donations should be disclosed in ‘real time’: not months after an election

    This is what Funding and Disclosure (Inc) is lobbying for.

    For more information: contact@fundinganddisclosure.org.au

  4. Carol Rea

    February 1, 2016 at 6:29 am

    So just for the record Labor and the Greens didn’t have any large private donors. Labor had HACSU and the Greens had head office.

    Tasmanian Labor
    http://periodicdisclosures.aec.gov.au/ReceiptsEntityPartyList.aspx?SubmissionId=56&ClientId=27&ClientTyCo=P

    Tasmanian Greens
    http://periodicdisclosures.aec.gov.au/ReceiptsEntityPartyList.aspx?SubmissionId=56&ClientId=138&ClientTyCo=P

  5. Steve

    January 31, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    #4; Mike, surely the question is “when did it happen”, not “if”?
    Of course, there’s a credible argument that it’s never been any other way…

  6. Mike Bolan

    January 31, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    How would we know if the party(ies) became so corrupted that they were criminal interests whose intent was power and money, and who only gave the impression of acting in the public’s interest to stay in power?
    Who would reveal the truth? How could we find it out?

  7. John Hawkins

    January 31, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Think Abetz:

    Think $50,000 from Gunns Ltd when he was made Minister of Forests.

    Think Abetz:

    Think Mantach and the missing money in Tasmania and Victoria.

    Think Abetz:

    Think Exclusive Brethren and denied Donations

    Think Abetz:

    Number one on the Liberal Party Ticket

    I wonder why.

  8. Chris

    January 31, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    I will solemnly declare that any tobacco donations will not be disclosed.
    I will not tell you how much I got from a certain religious organisation but we are brothers aren’t we Erica?
    I will not tell you how much has been donated to us from the amounts we grant in subsidies to any organisation, whether it be a vineyard or a factory.
    All donations not disclosed are gratefully received and put to great use and influence.
    We are a broad church and pray that our fellow … are blest.
    Pass the plate.

  9. davanjac

    January 31, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    So that was a waste of time. Who do they think we are to put up with this treatment. Declare the lot and be honest.

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