Donations fill war chests

Big donor: Terry and Val Jackson at a Liberal Party function. Picture: Jeff Atkinson/The West Australian

This year's State and Federal elections have delivered a massive financial windfall to the WA Liberal Party, which received record income from donations and other receipts last financial year.

The WA Electoral Commission annual returns for 2012-13 cement the Liberals' WA branch as the war chest of the Federal party, revealing it got three times as much income as in the previous year and more income than all the other political parties in WA combined.

In total, the WA Liberals received more than $11.36 million in donations and other income, compared with Labor's $5.82 million and the Greens' $1.31 million.

The Liberals' 500 Club fundraising arm made the biggest donation - of $425,000 - while the party's biggest single contributor was long-time donor Kreepy Krauly magnate Terry Jackson, who pitched in $150,000.

Other large donations, of $50,000 each, came from unsuccessful Federal Liberal candidate for Perth Darryl Moore and Chris Ellison's Mineral Resources.

Contributions from unions made up most of WA Labor's income, with United Voice kicking in $144,126 and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association providing $108,389.

The returns show the Shooters and Fishers Party is being bankrolled by the firearms industry, with gun manufacturer Beretta donating $10,000 to the young party.

WA Electoral Commissioner Chris Avent said overall party income had trebled, rising to $20.65 million in 2012-13 from $7.6 million in 2011-12.

Mr Avent said the significant increases in party incomes were to be expected in the lead-up to a State election, particularly given a Federal election campaign followed a few months later.

He said it also reflected the rising cost of running sophisticated election campaigns.

"Having two significant elections in the same calendar year has provided a clear focus for fundraising by political parties," Mr Avent said.

"With the Federal election falling in the next reporting period, numbers next year are likely to be higher than in the recent past."

Liberal State director Ben Morton said it was misleading to use the annual returns to compare the major parties' financial positions because they did not reflect campaigning by the union movement during the election year, which benefited Labor.

Labor State secretary Simon Mead said Mr Morton could "count up all the matchsticks he likes".

"The fact is the Liberals took in double what we did," he said.

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