Friends in high places: fossil fuels political donations
By Market Forces - Australian governments spend $12 billion tax dollars a year on subsidies, contributions, loans, lax environmental laws and approvals for disastrous projects to help more coal, gas and oil to be extracted and burned. .
It’s an open secret that the fossil fuel lobby has its tentacles embedded in politics, but rarely is this so obvious than through the donations made by coal, oil and gas interests to political parties.
The most recent data on political donations has just been released and it makes for ugly reading. Fossil fuel companies and lobby groups donated $1,277,933 to major political parties in 2017-18.
You have to wonder what outcomes they have in mind when donating, but it’s worth pointing out that many of the donors will enjoy some of the $12 billion handed out every year in tax breaks that encourage the production and consumption of fossil fuels.
Several, like multinational corporation Chevron, have managed to pay $0 in company tax over the past four years, despite raking in billions of dollars in revenue.
And I'm sure it's no surprise that Adani donated nearly $50,000 to the Federal Liberal Party and One Nation last financial year.
This is a major flaw in our democratic system. As we campaign for the urgent transition needed to a renewable energy economy, the fossil fuel industry is keeping their relationships with government cosy.
We need to fight back and we need you to help us in that fight. Donations mean something, whether it's from a coal company to a political party, or an individual contributing to a charitable cause. We need donors to support our work and help us deliver our agenda for a fossil fuel free future.
We might not need the largesse fossil fuel companies provide and political parties enjoy, but the figures released today give a taste of what we’re up against.
The sorts of outcomes we’re talking about include a phase out of coal in Australia over the next decade, directors of companies that have no interest or competency in managing climate risk being put out to pasture, companies that are contradicting the goals of the Paris climate change agreement facing total and permanent divestment.
It will take a lot to overcome the political influence of the fossil fuel lobby, but we can do a lot. What’s more, we can do it with just a fraction of the support big coal, oil and gas companies provide to political parties.
Please sign up as a monthly donor to Market Forces and help us destroy the fossil fuel industry’s political influence and shift finance towards the industries that can decarbonise our economy and society.
Thanks so much for your support,
Julien, on behalf of Market Forces
P.S. You can see our summary of this year's data on political donations here.
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