Tech companies keep Australian political donations low

In a year with few tech companies donating to political parties in Australia, Macquarie Telecom has significantly increased its donations to Australian political parties in the last financial year, according to the latest data.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

The last financial year saw a drop in the number of tech companies donating to Australian political parties, but Macquarie Telecom has significantly increased the money it is donating to both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party.

According to the annual donor statements released by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), the biggest technology company donating to Australian political parties was Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, spending AU$79,799 with the Liberal Party and AU$69,805 with the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

Macquarie Telecom ramped up its donations, giving AU$45,500 to the ALP and AU$88,000 to the Liberal Party.

Optus' political donations dropped slightly from the amount it donated in the previous financial year. The Singtel-owned company donated AU$43,250 to Labor and AU$47,390 to the Coalition.

The donations made by tech companies pale in comparison to others such as Visa, being the top donor for federal Labor at AU$150,800, or healthcare billionaire Paul Ramsay, who donated AU$505,000 to the federal Liberal Party.

Village Roadshow, one of the film studios that was involved in an intense legal battle with iiNet over copyright infringement before losing in the High Court last year, continued its donations, giving AU$115,850 to Labor and AU$142,000 to the Liberal Party.

Since the outcome of the case, the group representing Village Roadshow and a number of other studios, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), has lobbied the government to push for a change of law to deter online copyright infringement.

The Australian Greens do not accept donations from corporations, and all donations listed for the party are from individuals. The newly formed Katter's Australia Party raked in close to AU$800,000 from financial investors, unions, and gun advocates.

Editorial standards