Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

He who pays the piper calls the tune

Major parties beholden to corporate cash
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The latest political donation data from the Australian Electoral Commission confirms once again that the major parties are beholden to corporate cash.

While big business spent millions in 2017-18 financing both the Liberals and Labor, they would consider it money very well spent. Corporate profits are soaring thanks to all sorts of business-friendly laws being introduced by the major parties.

Of the two biggest parties, the Liberals collected the most in explicit donations, $7.6 million. This was almost exclusively from corporate cash and rich donors. Labor raised $7.1 million, the bulk also from big business, but this also included donations from trade unions.

Both parties raised tens of millions more in “other receipts”. This includes money raised from corporate fundraisers and investments, as well as public funding.

Many corporations hedged their bets giving similar amounts to both the big major parties. The big banks and finance houses for example donated $703,086 to Labor’s national branch and $733,555 to the federal Liberal Party.

Other companies donating to the major parties included climate wreckers like Adani, the cancer-causing cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris, price-gouging energy companies and profiteers connected to the family-destroying gambling industry.

The financial backers of any party tell you a lot about where their interests lie. As the old saying goes, “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”

While Labor pretends to represent ordinary people, it is clear that they are 100% owned by corporate Australia. In contrast to Labor’s shady dealings, the Socialist Party steadfastly refuses to accept any donations from big business. We intentionally rely solely on the financial support of our working class supporters to ensure we will only ever be beholden to ordinary people.

It is a travesty that many trade unions continue to hand over their members’ money to Labor when they are so clearly in the pay of the bosses we are supposed to be fighting against. Rather than wasting that money, the trade unions should work with the Socialist Party and progressive groups to create a political alternative to the corrupt major parties.

In that way workers, rather than bosses, would get to pick the tune, and we could start to undermine the corporate domination of politics and put the interests of the working class back on the agenda.

By Socialist Party reporters


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