Paul Rea, Coorabell
While Labor stopped taking donations from the tobacco industry in 2004 and the Liberals followed suit a decade later, the Nationals continue to accept donations from the tobacco industry.
Australian Electoral Commission data shows that since the 1998–99 financial year, tobacco giant Philip Morris has donated $613,608 to the Nationals. The company is also a top-tier member of the Nationals, paying a $55,000 membership fee last financial year, which entitled the company to a program of boardroom access and high level lobbying opportunities.
Ben Franklin MLC disavows any connection with this arrangement, saying he is a member of the Nationals’ state branch that does not receive tobacco company largesse. But where does this leave Kevin Hogan, Federal Member for Page?