July 15, 2016

Turnbull forced to dig deep as fossil fuel donations ran dry, says 350.org

Reports of Malcolm Turnbull contributing $1 million to the Liberal Party to keep their election campaign afloat demonstrates a new political climate of cautious donors concerned about the impact of political donations.

Work by groups such as 350.org Australia and others means Australians now understand the perverse incentives that drive donations, such as fossil fuel companies that expect preferential treatment and billions in subsidies in return for their donations.

“The fossil fuel industry in Australia has a long history of donating to both major political parties. But now all of that is changing. The fact that gun-shy donors meant Mr Turnbull himself had to fund the Liberals campaign is further evidence of the growing hesitation from the corporate sector to donate to our politicians,” Pollution Free Politics campaigner, Isaac Astill said.

“The return on investment of political donations has historically been astronomical. Our research shows that for every $1 donated by the fossil fuel industry to the major parties since the last election, the fossil fuel industry will receive over $2000 in government hand-outs this year alone.

“Inadequate disclosure rules in Australia mean we won’t know the full state of donations leading up to the 2016 election until 2018. However, we do know that donations for both major parties dried up due to public pressure.”

“In the lead up to the election, 350.org Australia ran a strong campaign that highlighted the dirty relationship between our elected officials and the fossil fuel industry. It’s clear that companies are becoming concerned about the growing dissatisfaction with them buying political influence.

“Companies may be cautious about bad publicity from donating to our politicians, but there is much more work to be done. The only way to clean up our politics for good is to reform our broken donations system. It’s time to stop harmful sectors like the fossil fuel industry being able to sway election outcomes with their great wads of cash.”

Media contact: Cambell Klose 0490 436 948