Energy industry spends big on political donations

ENERGY businesses are among the top political party donors in Australia, but not compared to individual donors, according to newly released data from the Australian Electoral Commission.
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Image obtained AEC

The AEC publicly released donation information for the 2017 to 2018 period on Friday, revealing what oil and gas companies and energy providers spent on political donations during the 12 month period.
Combined the biggest oil and gas companies paid the three main political parties nearly A$800,000 - not bad for a non-election year.
The biggest energy business's political donations for 2017 came from Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy, Chevron Corporation and Senex. 
Origin Energy made around $110,595 in total political donations, Santos gave around $182,000, Woodside donated $237,300, Chevron about $121,879 and Senex was the humblest of all donating $35,400 to state parties in Queensland where it is headquartered. 
Breaking it down the donations were, perhaps surprisingly, more targeted at the Australian Labor Party which took a total of $336,810 in gifts from the above, while the Liberal Party and Nationals combined took home about $350,000. 
Other large donations to parties outside the energy sector included over $200,000 worth of donations from the Australian Hotels Association to various parties including Katter's Australia Party, $1 million from the Electrical Trades Union to the ALP and Greens, and Tobacco company Philip Morris which donated over $100,000 to the Nationals and Liberal Democrats. 
Future donations ahead of the upcoming federal election, and donations made after from the beginning of 2018 to now, will not be known until February next year. 
Only donations of more than $13,500 were required under law to be disclosed during the period. 
According to the Grattan Institute, a whopping $56 million was unable to be traced in the form of political donations as they were under the disclosure benchmark.
The Australian Greens, which obviously took no donations from the energy industry, took issue with Santos and Woodside's donations saying that the AEC data showed that Australia's "democracy is for sale." 
"Millions from the big mining and gas companies is why we don't have action on climate change despite having just had the hottest month on record in Australia, flooding in Far North Queensland right now, and catastrophic bushfires in Tasmania," Greens senator Larissa Waters said Friday. 
The Greens are pushing to have a cap on donations of just $1,000, however this reporting period the party did receive an individual $600,000 donation from WA Greens convener Chilla Bulbeck.