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Political donations and the rise of corporatocracy

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Vested interests have always sought to influence politicians but the problem of buying influence has in recent time developed into a cancer undermining the health of Australia’s democracy.

Mining industry influence is a key example.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has analysed a dump of 2018-19 donations data on the Australian Electoral Commission’s (AEC) website. It found that the fossil-fuel industry doubled its donations to the major parties the past four years.

The Coalition gets the lion’s share, but the amount Labor is ‘gifted’ is not far behind, certainly not insignificant. Drawing on four years of data from 2015-2016 to last financial year, the ACF confirms that the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) gave money to both Liberal and Nationals-aligned entities as well as Labor entities. MCA donated to the Hunter Federal Campaign Account of the Australian Labor Party, an electorate in coal country that was retained last year by Labor’s pro-coal MP Joel Fitzgibbon (a…