Source: The Mercury, 2 February, 1999, p.9
By MATTHEW MORAN in Canberra CORPORATE Australia shelled out millions of dollars to stock the Liberal and Labor war chests for last year's election. Many of Australia's biggest companies-which benefit from government contracts and often depend on a sympathetic ear- helped the major parties bank more than $45 million last finan- cial year. The ALP was the big winner, recovering some of the ground it lost when it was deserted by corporate donors after its thrash- ing in the 1996 election. Village Roadshow, which gave just $23,500 to the ALP and $202,000 to the Liberals in 1996-97, last year gave the ALP $126,020 and dropped the Liberal funding to $107,140. Labor received $21,689,791 in donations last year - almost $4 million of it from affiliated unions. The Liberal Party re- ceived $18 001330 and the Na- tionals received $6,127,009. The big surprise was the more than $1 million in donations to the ultra-right wing Citizens Elec- toral Council, which believes the Queen runs the international drug trade. The CEC received fewer than 10,000 votes. Giant petroleum firm Santos was the biggest corporate donor, giving $321,250 to the Coalition and $90,500 to the ALP. Banks were also big donors, with Westpac giving $242,050 to the Coalition and $151,500 to the ALP. Cigarette companies handed out thousands to parties, with Philip Morris donating $86,400 to the Coalition and $49,800 to the ALP. Rothmans gave $61,000 to the Coalition and $19,000 to the ALP.
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