Today Australian voters have discovered who was bankrolling the nation’s political parties more than 18 months ago.

Gambling lobby gave $500,000 to Liberals ahead of Tasmanian election

In the lead-up to the Tasmanian election, the Liberals surprised many with a costly saturation advertising blitz, which analysts believed represented the most expensive election campaign in the state’s history.

But the woefully slow donation disclosure regimes operating in Tasmania and federally meant voters were left oblivious to the vested interests behind the largesse when they went to the polls.

Now, 11 months after the election was held, the origins of the money have finally become clear in data showing that the gambling and hospitality industry gave at least $514,000 to the Tasmanian Liberals in 2017-18.

‘The Liberal party declared that the Tasmanian Hospitality Association gave $160,000 in 2017-18, while Kalis Hospitality, Jonod, the Federal Group, and EBC Leisure – all companies with Tasmanian gaming interests – gave $244,000 between them.

Here you can see donations declared by each of the parties (this doesn’t include donations declared by ‘associated entities’, such as unions and fundraising bodies, or amounts under $13,500) for the 2017-18 financial year.

Parties are able to classify the funds received at their own discretion, and most are either a donation or an ‘other receipt’, which may refer to anything from financial returns from investments or payment for event tickets in lieu of donations.

The gambling lobby donated more than $500,000 to the Liberals to help defeat Tasmanian Labor and stymie plans to remove poker machines from the state’s pubs and clubs.

Data released on Friday morning also reveals donations worth $500,000 from ANZ bank to both Labor and the Liberals during political wrangling over the royal commission, and significant contributions by the mining and resources industry to both sides of politics, including $50,000 from Adani to the Liberals and One Nation.

It also reveals tobacco giant Philip Morris, which is lobbying to overhaul a vaping ban, donated $56,500 to the Nationals and $40,000 to the Liberal Democrats.

How the Gambling Industry's political donations influence gambling decisions

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