Media release

New research from the Centre for Public Integrity shows hidden money continues to fund our democracy. Analysis of the latest AEC figures shows:

  • The source of $49.55 million in party income was hidden from public view in 2019-2020
  • The total dark money since 1999 is $1.5 billion
  • More money is hidden in election years, with the 2019 election setting the record for hidden funding at $114.2 million
  • The Coalition has hidden the source of 39.22% of their party income since 1999, while the ALP has hidden 27.69%

“The source of almost $50 million in party income was hidden last year alone. This secrecy needs to stop,” said Anthony Whealy QC, the Chair of the Centre for Public Integrity.

“The last election set records for money raised and money hidden. Reform is needed now so that the funding of the coming election is transparent.”
“Most states have a disclosure threshold of $1000. The Commonwealth’s disclosure threshold of $14,300 is out of line.”

“There is little analysis or enforcement occuring to make sure donations returns are complete. The AEC needs greater resources and expertise to make our disclosure system work properly,” Mr Whealy said.

View the full briefing paper here.