Political donations FY20: Free TV, Harold Mitchell and Nine make the list

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has published its annual financial disclosure returns for the 2019-20 financial year.

The returns include donations to political parties and campaigners, as well as disclosure of associated entities, donors and third parties that incur electoral expenditure.

The AEC returns include individuals and companies who donated more than $14,000 in total, with the threshold indexed on 1 July each year.

There were several entries on the list of interest within the media, marketing and entertainment space, including independent bodies, media companies, and a prominent adman.

Free TV Australia made $31,182 in total donations, with the biggest donation going to the Liberal Party of Australia; $11,364 (plus another $1,818 to the NSW Division of the Liberal Party).

In addition, Free TV Australia donated $10,000 to the Australian Labor Party, and $8,000 to the National Party of Australia.

Nine donated to both major parties, but gave significantly more to the Liberal Party of Australia. It gave $62,906 in total across two donations – one of which was hosting a fundraiser in 2019 at the company’s headquarters (which the broadcaster later admitted was a mistake), while it donated $27,500 to the ALP.

Australian film producer and distributor (and theme park company), Village Roadshow made $52,800 in donations to political parties, with almost all of it going to the Victorian division of the Liberal Party.

Star Entertainment Group (formerly Echo Entertainment Group) made $43,900 in political donations for FY20. It donated $7,900 to the Federal ALP, with the remainder going to the Federal Liberal Party and NSW Liberal Party. The biggest one-off donation was $22,000 to the NSW Libs.

Crown Resorts generously donated $184,566 to Australian political parties during the 2019-20 financial year. In donations ranging from $50 to $30,000, Crown made 22 donations in total to various nation and state divisions of the ALP, Liberal Party and National Party Of Australia.

Meanwhile, veteran media buyer Harold Mitchell AO handed over $41,500 to the ALP in six instalments between August 2019 and June 2020.

Harold Mitchell gave over $40K to the ALP

Gambling companies Tabcorp and Sportsbet each donated above the $14,000 disclosure threshold.

Tabcorp Holdings Limited donated a total of $190,445, with most of it going to various branches of the ALP and a small portion ($4,400) to the Nationals in Western Australia. For their part, Sportsbet gave a one-off donation of $27,500.

Retailer, insurance company and more, Woolworths Group Limited, gave a series of smaller figure amounts, split fairly evenly between divisions of the Liberal Party and the ALP.

Wesfarmers Limited, which owns Bunnings and the Kmart Group, donated $110,000 to each major major party, plus an extra $1,100 to the WA branch of the ALP.

The full list of donor returns can be viewed on the AEC website.


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