IT outsourcing and software behemoth Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) was the largest political donor from the technology sector last year, bumping Macquarie Telecom from the top spot with an almost $400,000 contribution.
Annual donations data released by the Australian Electoral Commission on Monday reveals that India's biggest software services provider contributed $395,609 to the major parties in 2018-19.
It is the first time TCS has ever made donations to an Australian political party, according to the AEC’s publicly available figures.
The majority of money, which occurred in an election year, flowed to the Liberal party ($227,700), while the Labor party received $167,909.
The first-time donation puts the firm in the top fifteen companies for political contributions last year. A total of 294 companies donated $5000 or more in the 2018-19 financial year.
TCS was followed by Macquarie Telecom, which – along with Singtel Optus – has consistently topped the list in recent years as the technology sector’s most generous donor.
Macquarie Telecom gave $176,500 to the major parties last year, slightly lower than its $194,270 donation in 2017-18.
Its 2018-19 political contribution was split between the Labor party ($127,500), the Liberal party ($43,500) and the National party ($5500).
Optus’ donations, like previous years, were more or less evenly split between the two major parties in 2018-19, with $28,500 to Labor and $28,300 to the Liberals. A further $5500 was donated to the Nationals.
Vocus re-emerged on the list after two years of absence, donating $42,550 to each of the two major parties. It last made a $50,000 donation to the Liberals in 2015-16.
Telstra also appeared on the list with a $23,000 contribution to the Liberal party. The telco has not donated to any Australia political party since before 2000.
iTnews makes no suggestion of any impropriety relating to these donors and the political parties involved.
Major technology companies have largely been absent from the donations list since 2015-16, with Google one of the last to make a donation back in 2014-15 – its first to an Australian political party.