During the week, I had a look at the ACT Elections website and focussed on the annual returns for the political parties in the ACT. The findings were very interesting indeed.
The prevailing wailing from the Libs is that the Labor Party get its income from the pockets of problem gamblers via the Labor Club.
The Libs bellyache and say Labor should divorce itself from that dependence. Former chief ministers have said as much. Well let’s see where the parties get their money from.
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The ACT Electoral Commission gave the ALP $125,000, the Libs $167,700 and the Greens $20691. Hare-Clark at work.
Look at how much the Labor Club gave the ALP in the latest returns. The donation of money was minimal. The majority amount of support it gave was for room hire waiver for party meetings. The same is said for the CFMEU, the Southern Cross Club and the Burns Club.
I found it interesting that the Libs haven’t declared any in-kind support for its branch meetings so I can only assume that one of the following is true:
- They pay for room hire, which is unlikely for a party owing $317,500 to the National Bank
- They hold branch meetings in someone’s home, in which case the numbers of card carriers would be really low
- They aren’t having meetings.
Clubs gave the ALP $63,600 in in-kind support for their meeting room hire. How dare they?
The public office holders give money by way of levies to their parties. I don’t know what the arrangements are for the Libs and Greens but the amounts reported show an interesting story. I have just tallied up the amounts declared as receipts and not as donations. To include these figures would make the variations even wider.
The ACT ALP received $91,700 from their public office holders, the Libs $39,900 and the Greens $23,400. Obviously the Libs don’t cough up as much to the party which put them there.
The Asia Society of Hong Kong paid the ALP $8,000 for Mr Corbell to travel to Hong Kong to attend an event. But note that this is there for all to see. It is not dragged out kicking and screaming ,and I’m pretty sure there was no chopper ride in there.
The ALP received $244,100 from the 1973 Foundation. This foundation was set up to provide an alternative revenue source divorced from the Labor Club’s activities. Its principal source of money derives from investment in G8 Education Ltd, the largest child care company listed on the ASX. Not a pokie in sight. The Foundation also derives money from Westpac. Again, not a pokie in sight.
The Libs get their support from a range of individuals and firms in smallish amounts like $2,000 here or $5,000 there, with the occasional $7,800 thrown in.
But they also received $285,900 from LJ Hooker, as rents received from buildings they own. As rents are moneys earned by the party as the owner of the real estate, the figure is not required to be listed as a donation. Sneaky that!
These buildings are a bit old now. Would the Libs benefit from a removal of the lease variation charge if they wanted to sell up and redevelop elsewhere? Hmmm! What do you say Messrs Hanson and Smyth?
They also got another $18,100 from Stratsec, which I think is rent also. Happy to be corrected on this one.
The Caesar’s wifey Greens got their money from periodic payments from members in small amounts and an amount of $20,000 from one Stephen Pradgham . Very generous individual.
The debts returns were interesting. The ALP owed $12,000 to a company called Co-ordinate, the Greens owed $5,100 to the Tax Office and Superannuation Holdings between them, and the Libs owed the National Bank $317,000. This Libs’ figure is down on last year from over $400,000.
It begs the old pollie mantras ….. if you can’t manage your own financial affairs, how can you manager the Territory’s finances? Good question that!
So now, some general comments. The good news is that all this was available on the public record for all to see. There is no dodgy record keeping. Or is that true? Doesn’t my memory tell me that the Libs were in trouble for not declaring their returns properly last time?
But it is true that we can all see how they are funded and make judgements about perceptions of conflicts of interest.
Speaking of which, let’s return to the beginning and address the nonsense of the ALP dependence on the pockets of problem gamblers. The biggest contributor by a long shot was a Foundation whose source of income is in child care. The general public expressed disquiet when there was a close association between the ALP and the Labor Club.
The 1973 Foundation was created, and now invests to achieve an alternative revenue source. This information is available on the public record thanks to the Electoral Commission. So let’s not have any more of this nonsense about a conflict of interest in the review of gaming laws in the ACT.
The Libs’ major source of revenue is from real estate. One could argue that the Libs have a conflict of interest in wishing to maximise their income to address the massive debt they have accumulated. One could argue that they should not take part in debates around changes to planning and taxation laws which would directly benefit themselves. They will benefit from any change to the lease variation charge.
The Greens rely on individual zealots to fund their party. Good on them, I say. I think that possibly, they will never be in a position to take government in their own right and the best they can do is the blackmail the government of the day, and this could be a reason why the private sector won’t cough up.
Interestingly, one former MLA had massive numbers of shares in Ethical Investments Ltd, a company which manages portfolios for people who only want to invest in sustainable and greenie-type investments.
How come that firm doesn’t support the party most like themselves and which advocates for legislation to ensure that the public sector super funds are invested ethically? Interestingly, there aren’t that many companies like this one so perhaps a cornered market exists.