• July 22, 2021

Political War Chests Crushed By COVID As Regular Donors Keep Their Money In The Bank

Traditionally, donations from much of the city favor the 60:40 Liberal Party. But that envelope has shrunk. This will force the Labor and Liberal parties to rely more on their members and supporters for help.

Working Against the Liberal Party is a series of fundraising reforms introduced by the Andrews administration in 2018, which means that Victorian political donations are capped at $ 1,040 per year and must be disclosed.

Donations from much of the city have declined as a result of the pandemic.Credit:James davies

Both sides of the policy agree that the policy will favor Labor, as the ALP generally receives more financial support from its rank-and-file members than liberals from theirs.

In 2008, Barack Obama’s historic campaign for the presidency was overwhelmingly fueled by these small online micro donations, something that the two main parties in Australia have tried to replicate here. Labor has had some success with the approach, often raising enough funds to fund a local campaign.

With corporate funds expected to plummet, there is now a renewed push within liberals to revive this technique ahead of the 2022 poll. But there is cynicism in this approach from some sectors of the party due to the smaller group of supporters. rusted and the impact of the pandemic on family budgets.

To make matters worse, the Liberal Party has recently downgraded its planned contribution from the state party fundraising entity Enterprise Victoria, which traditionally hosts large-scale networking events for politicians, businessmen and industry leaders.

The pandemic has effectively denied the Liberals one of their most powerful fundraising tools, the coming together of these “high-net-worth individuals,” as one party member put it.

This means that the small number of Liberal MPs on Spring Street will be forced to spend more time at smaller boardroom-style fundraisers to bring in the same amount of cash.

With money short, both sides believe that ownership will be crucial in any electoral race. On a state level that bodes well for the Labor Party, which can even afford to lose a few seats and stay in office.

Critically, candidates, of whom the Liberal Party will need many, will have fewer opportunities to raise money and meet with voters given COVID-19 restrictions than sitting MPs who have served the full four-year term.

But this ownership issue will also have a dramatic impact on the federal Labor Party as it tries to raise cash to fight in the federal elections to be held within the next 10 months. Making it harder is an edict by Prime Minister Daniel Andrews, effectively prohibiting his cabinet ministers from attending fundraisers for federal MPs.


This has angered Federal Labor, which challenged the decision during a recent meeting in Canberra. They rightly argued that decision makers, in this case cabinet ministers in the Andrews government, attract more wealthy donors who want power than members of opposition banks.

In 2018, Liberal deputies and state candidates set a goal to raise about $ 120,000 for the campaign. The party has yet to set a fundraising goal for 2022, but with fewer restricted months to raise money, there is more pressure on the party to recruit candidates who can bring in cash.

As one liberal official said; “This has the potential to fundamentally change the face of politics, for better or for worse.”

“If you have a candidate who has money for himself or can raise money, it will be a bigger attraction than at any other time.”

Annika Smethurst is a state political editor.

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