Greasing the wheels: The systemic weaknesses that allow undue influence by mining companies on government - a Queensland case study

28 Jul 2016

Between 2010 and 2015 the Liberal Party of Australia and the Queensland Liberal National Party accepted over two million dollars in political donations from mining companies seeking approval for six highly controversial mining projects in Queensland.

While these companies sought approval and legislative changes primarily from the then Liberal National Party Queensland Government, most of the money donated by these companies went to the Liberal Party of Australia. The Queensland Liberal National Party accepted $308,000 dollars from companies associated with these projects, while the Liberal Party of Australia accepted $1.75 million. Although we know that over $3 million dollars was transferred from the Liberal Party of Australia to the Queensland Liberal National Party over this period, a lack of disclosure and transparency makes it impossible to discern the origin of these donations.

At least one of the companies examined in this report made a substantial donation to the highly controversial Free Enterprise Foundation, the opaque Federal Liberal Party fundraising body that came under the scrutiny of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for allegedly concealing the origin of illegal political donations to the New South Wales Liberal Party.

These mining projects all gained extraordinary access to government ministers and extraordinary outcomes. These outcomes included legislative changes to remove environmental protections, federal and state government approval of projects despite serious environmental concerns, and even retrospective approval of illegal mining activities.

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