Four of the nation’s biggest fossil fuels companies paid over 13,000 times more in “donations” to the major political parties last financial year than they collectively paid in taxes in 2020-21.
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) data released this morning shows Chevron, Santos, Whitehaven Coal and Woodside together made $390,930 in political “donations” to the ALP and the Liberal and National parties last financial year.
That compares to Australian Taxation Office (ATO) figures which reveal the four fossil fuel giants paid just $30 tax between them in 2020-21, the most recent available data.
Santos, Whitehaven Coal and Woodside Energy Group (formerly Woodside Petroleum) paid zero income tax in the year – while Chevron Australia paid just $30.
That’s despite the four companies earning combined revenues that year of $24.82 billion.
AEC data shows the “donations” the fossil fuels giants made last financial year were roughly evenly split between the two major sides of politics.
Of the $390,930, the ALP received $196,980 and $193,950 went to the Coalition parties ($109,300 to the Liberal Party and $79,900 to the National Party).
The AEC’s annual dump of political donations data, released today, shows other major fossil fuels donors included embattled Indian conglomerate Adani ($107,700) and coal baron Trevor St Baker, who “donated” $120,249 via “The Trustee for St Baker Family Trust”.
Fossil fuel lobby groups APPEA and the Minerals Council of Australia – which are funded by the major fossil fuel companies – “donated” $113,970 and $233,562 respectively.
Revenue of $24.8 billion, $390,930 in political “donations”… and $30 in tax. Source: ATO/AEC. Graphic: The Klaxon
ASX-listed Mineral Resources Limited made $188,000 in political “donations” in the financial year, comprised of $103,000 to the ALP; $65,000 to the Liberal Party and $20,000 to the National Party.
Hancock Prospecting, owned by mining magnate, Australia’s richest woman and high-profile conspiracy theorist, Gina Rinehart, “donated” $24,500 to the South Australian branch of the Liberal Party and Queensland mining machinery company Russell Mineral Equipment donated $24,500 to the Queensland LNP.
Analyst group Market Forces found a “whopping” $2m had been handed to the major political parties by fossil fuel companies.
Axel Salman, the group’s research coordinator, said this was “clearly aimed at sweetening deals to expand coal, oil and gas production”, the ABC reports.
The biggest single donor last financial year was Clive Palmer’s mining company Mineralogy, which paid a massive $116.85m to Palmer’s United Australia Party.
Palmer ran a national campaign with candidates in dozens of seats but failed dismally, securing just one Victorian Senate position.
Over the decade to January last year, Australia fell faster down Transparency International’s corruption index – towards corruption – than any other OECD country except for authoritarian Hungary, with which it tied.
Yesterday Transparency International released its latest report, which found Australia had improved slightly over the year, but its ranking remains only just above that of 2021, its record low.
Transparency International Australia said the absence of “real time” disclosure regarding political donations was one of the main factors.
Political donations are disclosed annually, usually seven months after the end of the financial year, which means it can be up to 19 months between a “donation” being made and it being disclosed to the public.
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