Big end of town finances major parties

THE corporate sector donated millions of dollars to keep Australia's big political parties afloat last financial year.

  The annual statement of political donations released by the Electoral Commission yesterday [1 February 1999], shows the top three banks, the mining sector, the hotel industry and unions all poured millions of dollars into the coffers of the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party.

  The lion's share of the corporate dollar went to the Liberals, while Labor relied heavily on union dues and donations.

Adapted from newsitem by Rebecca Rose, in The West Australian, February 2 1999, p 4

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  Among the banks, Westpac contributed more than $180,000 to the Liberal Party and $166,000 to Labor, ANZ donated $100,000 to the Liberal Party and $23,000 to Labor and the Commonwealth Bank gave nearly $20,000 to the Liberal Party and just $2590 to Labor.

  Village Roadshow donated $126,000 to Labor and $107,000 to the Liberal Party, Hoyts gave $25,000 to Labor and $76,000 to the Liberal Party and Warner Bros Movie World donated $25,000 to Labor and $35,000 to the National Party.

  Cigarette companies Rothmans and Philip Morris also chipped in.  Rothmans gave $61,000 to the Liberal Party and $19,000 to Labor while Philip Morris donated $49,000 to Labor and $86,000 to the Coalition.

  The little-known Citizens' Electoral Councils (CEC), preaching a variety of theories, raised $1,023,000 through private donations, outgunning the Australian Democrats and the populist Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party in funding.  (In spite of its high funding, the CEC party attracted hardly any votes.  The Democrats on preferences obtained seats, and One Nation got 1.2 million votes and about one person into Parliament.)

  The CEC party, which claims that big banks are responsible for the imminent collapse of the world economy, attracted no corporate donors, according to the Electoral Commission's report.

  The report showed that the debt-ridden Western Australian branch of the Labor Party owed $692,000 before the 1998 Federal election, despite a $100,000 gift from the Federal Labor Party.

  The Liberal Party in WA owed only $3800.  Among the WA donors to the Liberals in WA was law firm Clayton Utz which donated $7250 in the lead-up to former managing partner Julie Bishop's successful bid to win the seat of Curtin.

  Hancock Prospecting paid $20,000 to the Liberal Party.  Wesfarmers donated $25,000 to the Liberal Party, $20,000 to the National Party, and $23,000 to Labor.

Enterprise, or is it manipulation, that makes Big Business big?


Packer picks up control of Hoyts

By Jane Schulze

KERRY PACKER'S Consolidated Press Holdings has gained effective control of Australia's second-biggest cinema group, Hoyts Cinemas, after a United States investment bank sold its shareholding for less than market value.

  US bank Hellman and Friedman yesterday [May 3 1999] sold its remaining 12.6 per cent holding to CPH's subsidiary Castwo, giving it 29.5 per cent of the stock, after CPH lifted its offer 5¢ to $2.05.

  The price paid by Castwo was below the independent valuation of Hoyts' shares by N.M. Rothschild, which valued them between $2.19 and $2.45 a share.

  Hoyts' shares closed 3¢ lower yesterday at $2.07.

[This takeover may not have succeeded, later news revealed.  For details on one of the ways the stock exchange is manipulated, see Share Prices.]

Politician admits power of the Money Power

A politician, in acknowledging a letter of congratulations, admitted the influence of the wealthy, and also the fact that transnational corporations pay very little tax.  Some details have been left out, to safeguard the politician's privacy.

Dear X,

Thank you for your letter of congratulations.

In respect of your letter, one of the problems of being an independent is financing electoral campaigns ...

Election campaigns are so expensive in the United States that House of Representatives members need to raise $100000 - $20000 each week via 3 or 4 fundraising luncheons in order to build up a campaign fund to contest elections each 2 years.  If you can't match the opposition on the television, radio, news and in the glossy pamphlets, you have great troubles surviving.  Money and politics are always going to be closely intertwined because money is a big advantage in election campaigns.

I think your view about transnational corporations paying very little tax is well known.  Little action has been taken to address this issue simply because of the power they can wield - ie. opposing those who try to address the situation.

Thanks again for your letter X and best wishes.

Yours sincerely


2 September 1999

Tagged on AOLPress/2.0 and to WWW 13 Feb 1999, last revised 06 June 2000
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