Labor’s introduction of a bill to prevent so-called property developers from donating to candidates and political parties is an assault on democracy, and an attempt to handicap its political opponents. Labor is protecting its union donors, although many unions act corruptly, and boast about the influence they buy over government. And it is penalising those citizens who are involved in the property industry, and contribute 15% to the state economy. So-called property developers are more likely to back the LNP than the ALP.
- The largest donor to a Queensland political party over the period before property donations were effectively banned in the run-up to the 2017 election was United Voice, with $303,631.77 exclusively to the ALP. It boasts about its influence over the government. The CFMEU gave $82,462.80 exclusively to the ALP. It has been excoriated by judges for its lawlessness.
- The largest property donor to a Queensland political party was Springfield Corporation and associates. It donated $141,630.60, split roughly 50/50 between the ALP and LNP.
- Operation Belcarra found no instances of property developers giving donations in return for favours. Its only recommendation for prosecution was against the CFMEU candidate for Gold Coast Mayor, Penny Toland, for failure to disclose donations from the union.
- The ban on donations from property developers and associates robbed the LNP of $587,0721.70 in the election campaign, and the ALP $129,328.64, at the same time that the ALP took $426,248.82 from various unions.
- Developers gave $2,162,316 split between ALP and LNP, and unions gave $1,117,533, almost exclusively to the ALP. Combined property and union donations provided the LNP with $1,747,841 and the ALP with $1,512,773.
- The legislation is broad and catches anyone involved with property development, whether it is their main business or not, or whether they are the principal or not. As well as full-time developers they could be professional advisors, employees, develop property as a consequence of conducting another business, or do it on weekends.
“If the government has evidence of corrupt donors, it should prosecute them, not persecute a whole industry on suspicion that some of its members might be corrupt.
“This legislation targets a broad sector of the community – people involved in owning and managing property – who are law-abiding and tend to favour the LNP in their donations.
“It leaves untouched organisations like the CFMEU who make large donations to the Labor Party, and who break the law as part of their business model.
“The conclusion that this is about political advantage rather than justice is inescapable.”
For more details, including biographies of the major donors to political parties, download our report on donations.