Political donations lean heavily towards Liberals

Australia’s mining and resource companies have left the Labor Party out in the cold, with electoral commission figures showing the industry’s bias towards the Liberals.

With the industry still smarting after Labor’s introduction of the mining tax in 2010, total resource and energy company political donations to the ALP reached $452,980 for the financial year 2013-14, compared to $1,718,439 to the LNP and $114,405 to the Nationals.

SMH reported yesterday this represented a sharp fall from ALP’s nearly 50 per cent share of political donations from the resource and energy industries in 2012-13.

Australia Institute executive director Richard Denniss told SMH the industry may have seen the opportunity to oust the Labor government at the last election and acted on it through heavily biasing their donations.

The bulk of small donations from mining companies went solely to the LNP, however two donations from Mineral Resources and CBD Energy went solely to the ALP.

Silverlake Resources, Northern Star, Whitehaven Coal and BC Iron each donated $20,000 to the Liberal Party.

The NSW Minerals Council showed which side their bread was buttered with $32,250 donated to the Coalition and $5000 to the ALP.

Gas producers Santos, Woodside Energy and Chevron Australia each gave comparatively large ratios of their donations to the ALP, with Woodside Energy declaring the most even spread of $136,100 donated to the Liberals and $111,100 to the ALP.

Santos political donations were higher still with $185,300 to the Coalition and $108,841 to Labor, showing the gas companies were still determined to keep a relatively even hand in the political ring, given their interest in gaining support for fracking and unconventional gas production.

Remarkably the highest donation reported from a resource company was $500,000, donated solely to the Liberals by Nimrod Resources, a privately owned explorer claiming to have a significant discoveries in development near Bourke in NSW, with seven tenements over an exploration area of 1000 square kilometres.