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Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

Fossil-fuel donations loom as Richmond poll issue

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The Greens’ candidate for the federal seat of Richmond, Dawn Walker, has called on her Labor rival, sitting MP Justine Elliott, to back their bill to ban controversial political donations from mining companies.

The call comes as a report revealed this week that fossil-fuel companies receive around $2,000 in subsidies for every dollar donated by the mining sector to political parties.

But Labor is mute on the issue, despite questions this morning by Echonetdaily.

Ms Walker urged Mrs Elliot to join her in signing the 350.org ‘Pollution Free Politics’ pledge and to support the  Donations Reform Bill 

Richmond Greens candidate Dawn Walker.
Richmond Greens candidate Dawn Walker.

She said the Greens did not accept donations from fossil fuel companies ‘and in order to stop the corrupting influence of political donations that the Liberal, National and Labor parties receive from the fossil fuel sector we simply need to ban these donations’.

‘The fossil fuel sector receives multi-million dollar subsidises annually from government,’ she said.

‘Labor, the Liberals and the Nationals have collectively taken $3.7 million from fossil fuel companies in the past three years.

‘Effectively, for every dollar donated by the fossil fuel sector to political parties these companies receive about $2,000 in subsidies for their industry.

‘The Richmond electorate would like the confidence that candidates are not using money from fossil fuel companies to fund their campaigns,’ Ms Walker said, citing a report on the donations.

Mrs Elliot was asked about the call to ban political donations, but her spokesman totally ignored the issue.

Instead, the MP’s spokesman said Labor was’ committed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, evidence of our support for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy’.

In her response to Echonetdaily, she said ‘We know that this needs to be done with consideration of what is important to, and needed by, communities, industries, workers and the environment.

‘Labor recognises that conventional fuels will be part of our energy mix in the future, but they will have less of a share because of the economics of both standard and renewable energy,’ the statement said.

‘The market is showing the transition from fossil fuels is already happening and we want to encourage and support this transition through our commitment to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.’

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  1. No surprise here. I tried in vain for a long time to get JE to state her position on indefinite detention. She is the typical politician, her representative does most of the talking and nothing asked actually gets answered. She just delivers spin. There is so little difference in the policies or integrity of the big two parties, time for a change.

    • A good example of the spin is the term ‘energy mix’. Typical nonsense jargon faithfully accepted from the fossil fuel lobby who so lavishly fund Labor and the LNP. Justine won’t speak on that issue any more than she will on ‘Let them stay’. Neither the ‘hollow man’ nor the man born to rule (not govern) or their followers have much to offer.

  2. Better still.

    Lets do away with political parties and have individuals with the community interest at heart publicly funded? No more party blocs funded by vested interests.

    Interesting thought? It just might reflect what a democracy should look like.

  3. Good idea but it gets spoilt when the Greens do deals with miners like funnelling preferences to Clive Palmer in several states in 2013. Greens need to be a greener themselves.

  4. The Fossil fuel industry is fighting the transition to renewables, and not cooperating with political parties even with the subsidies.
    While natural reserves of oil are depleted in Australia, overseas are huge supplies of over production stock-piles of oil to force the price of petrol down.
    The more the petrol price is kept down the harder it is for wind-power and solar power to keep a foothold in the energy market. The fossil fuel industry is trying to force the renewables to pull back. The renewables can’t compete against an artificially suppressed price in fossil fuel.

  5. The first thing that has to happen is get the language right. The timid might call them ‘party contributions’. The more accurate would say ‘investments’. I won’t use the term as pedantics would dictate, that’s actionable. These are not donations, never have been and, in truth, I really don’t think the electorate has ever been that naive. The misdirection is the peddling of the untruth by inference that corporate indulgence is the price of a healthy democracy.
    Commercial corporations are not benevolent societies and their shareholders quite rightly demand a return on their investments, including contributions to political parties. Subsidies, changing the law to suit, government contracts, favorable hearings in committees.


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