3. Is there a ban on corporate donations to political parties? - Australia

Country: 
Australia
Question: 
3. Is there a ban on corporate donations to political parties?
Answer: 
No
Comments: 

The financial disclosure scheme for Federal elections was amended with effect from 8 December 2005 to increase the threshold to ‘more than $10 000’. This amount is indexed with effect from 1 July each year based on increases in the consumer price index. The disclosure threshold amount that will apply from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 is more than $14,000. Electoral legislation in some States and Territories  ban donations from particular classes of donors e.g. Queensland law bans political donations from property developers. Electoral legislation in some States and Territories  ban donations from particular classes of donors e.g. Queensland law bans political donations from property developers.

Source: Australian Electoral Commission, Disclosure Threshold  https://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/public_funding/threshold.htm

Source: Queensland Electoral Commission, Prohibited Donors Scheme   https://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/donations-and-gift-disclosure/prohibited-donors-scheme

Source: 

While no ban exists on corporate donations, the donation must be disclosed to the Australian Electoral Commission if it is above a certain threshold ($14,000 in 2019).  No details of donations less than the threshold set by the Australian Electoral Commission are publicly available. The Australian Electoral Commission Transparency Register lists donations from corporations to political parties for each election.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility has expressed concern about the lack of transparency of corporate  donations to political parties. 

"In Australia, for substantial sums of money across many companies, it is impossible to tell the full amount of political expenditure or the extent to which the expenditure reflects the personal whim or short-term interests of boards or genuinely advances long-term shareholder interests"

 

Sources: Australian Electoral Commission Tranparency Register for donors, see  https://transparency.aec.gov.au/Donor

 Australian Electoral Commission, Disclosure Threshold  https://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/public_funding/threshold.htm

 Australian Electoral Commission:  https://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/public_funding/threshold.htm (updated 28th May 2019)

 Corporate Political Expenditure in Australia. Howard Pender, Research Director. Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, p.20 June 2016. 

Year of data: 
2019
Editorial State: 
SUBMITTED