The once donation-rich Country Liberal Party, fuelled with big cash from big and small NT businesses for decades, is now dependent on contributions from its own candidates to keep it afloat in the lead up to the August election, donation disclosures reveal.
The Northern Territory Electoral Commission released the 2019-20 political financial returns on Tuesday, showing Labor has far and away the biggest campaign war chest, raking in $438,818 from political donors, compared to the Territory Alliance’s $156,597 and the CLP’s $131,660.
While well below 2016 contributions, the Labor donations were made up from unions and property developers including the retail, fast food and warehouse SDA union for $30,000, Randazzo Properties for $20,500, Randazzo family-owned Northwest Constructions for $20,000, Corestaff for $10,000 and the Maritime Union of Australia for $11,000.
Henrey Yap and his business Yap Property Investments was the largest Labor donor, kicking in a combined $42,200.
Territory Alliance’s biggest donor was multi-millionaire barrister and philanthropist Alan Meyers QC, who donated $35,000 to the party. That was rounded out by Casuarina candidate Danial Kelly kicking in $20,491, Johnston candidate Steven Klose’s family donating $17,120 and the mysteriously named “Maria Cosmos” from Millner kicking in $8500.
The CLP has seen its once lucrative campaign fundraising efforts decimated, raking in the paltry $131,660 from 52 donors – the vast majority of which were candidates.
By comparison, in the lead up to the ill-fated 2016 election, the CLP raised nearly $1.2 million, raised through 68 business donations – compared to only three business donations now.
The largest single CLP donation last financial year was a personal one from developer Charlie Randazzo for $15,000 and the only business donations came from Gaymark Developments for $10,000, Tiwi-based Mantiyupwi Pty Ltd for $1500 and real estate company LJ Hooker for $2000.
The disclosures also show Tracey Hayes has raised the most money for the CLP, bringing in $35,980 from nine donors, including the $10,000 donation from Gaymark.
CLP leader Lia Finocchiaro raised $21,100 from two donors.
The records also show the Ban Fracking Fix Crime Protect Water party raised nearly $25,000 and The Greens raised $500.
The disclosure returns released on Tuesday only show the money raised by parties to the end of June. The so-called “dark money” won’t be released until after the election, which will show what the parties raised from July 1 to election day. Those figures won’t be disclosed until October.
That will include Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s recent $2500-a-head drinks fundraiser at the Cav earlier this month and any number of other fundraising events held by all parties before the August 22 election.