Political donations from the 2017-18 financial year have been revealed, in the last disclosure before the federal and NSW elections coming up in the next few weeks.
In a surprising twist, a former university professor – not a labour union, big business or a lobby group – was unveiled as the donor of the single largest contribution.
Chilla Bulbeck, formerly chair of women’s studies at Adelaide University, gave $500,000 to the Greens in Western Australia in December 2017.
Bulbeck, who is the convener of the WA Greens, told the ABC that she received an inheritance from her father that was more than expected.
“He knew I was very committed to The Greens and said he was very proud of me for that, so I felt I was expressing his will in a contemporary political framework.”
She made 10 other donations through the year, taking her total up to almost $600,000. That put her in just second place for total donations, only behind Electrical Trades Union of Australia Victorian Branch’s $651,900 to ALP Victoria over 17 payments.
Amazingly, Bulbeck’s donations made up 48 per cent of WA Greens’ entire receipt over the year, according to the Australian Electoral Commission report.
Among the parties, the Queensland branches of the ALP and the LNP topped the charts, receiving $16.7 million and $15.4 million respectively in donations during a state election year.
Federally, the ALP was the beneficiary of $11.5 million, while the Liberals made $5.6 million and the Greens $2.9 million.
For the 2018 financial year report, only donations over $13,500 were required to be disclosed. But for greater transparency, Labor has campaigned on changing that to $1,000 of it wins the federal election, expected in May.
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