The West

Libs top political donations

Big business, mining companies and property developers have continued to pour money into the coffers of the WA Liberal Party, which received the lion's share of donations last financial year.

WA Electoral Commission annual returns for 2011-2012 show property and Kreepy Krauly magnate Terry Jackson, a long-time donor, made the biggest donation to the Liberals of $250,000.

In total, the Liberals received almost $3.9 million in donations and other income compared with the Labor Party's $1.85 million and the Greens' $355,000.

The Liberal Party also received $51,445 from the Commonwealth Bank, $50,000 from Perdaman Chemicals and Fertilisers and $37,525 from Woolworths.

Wellard, the State's biggest live- stock exporter, doubled its contributions to the party from $25,000 in 2010-2011 to $50,000 in 2011-2012.

The company yesterday denied it was punishing Federal Labor over its decision to suspend live exports to Indonesia in June last year.

A spokesman said the payments were for Wellard's annual membership to the Leaders Forum, in which big companies pay $25,000 for exclusive access to Premier Colin Barnett and his ministers.

Labor Party State secretary Simon Mead said the donations proved the Liberals looked after the top end of town with mining companies boosting WA Liberals' coffers in retaliation for Federal Labor introducing the mining tax.

Liberal Party State director Ben Morton denied the party only represented big business, saying it stood for ordinary mum and dad voters too.

"The Labor Party is running their campaign through the union movement and the expenditure of the union movement on the State (election) campaign has not been disclosed," Mr Morton said.

Donations from unions made up most of WA Labor's income, with United Voice kicking in $109,416 and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association contributing $106,542.

While donations overall were down on the previous year, the Nationals WA bucked the trend by doubling its donations and income to $1.33 million.

Political analyst Harry Phillips said the surge in the Nationals' income may have been driven by Royalties for Regions.

WA Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately said overall party income had dropped to $7.6 million from $11.2 million in 2010-2011.

The West Australian

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