Macquarie Telecom has reclaimed its spot as the country’s largest political donor from the technology sector, snatching the title from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Annual donations data released by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on Monday shows that the telco donated $186,700 to the major parties in 2019-20 financial year.
The donation is slightly higher than the $176,500 it gave during the 2018-19 election year, but still significantly less than the company’s biggest ever donation ($263,000) in 2009-10.
The Labor and National parties were the biggest beneficiaries, receiving $71,500 and $70,500 each, while the Liberal party scored $44,700.
Macquarie Telecom – along with Optus – is one of the most regular and generous political donors from the technology sectors, having topped tech’s donor list every year since 2010-11.
But in 2018-19, TCS disrupted this trend when it made close to $400,000 in contributions to the two major political parties.
Macquarie Telecom was followed by Telstra, which made its first contribution since before 2000 in 2018-19.
Telstra gave $55,161, comprising $33,606 to the Nationals and $21,555 to the Liberal party, almost twice as much in total as the $23,000 it gave to the Liberal party last year.
Next on the list is Optus, which – as in previous years – split its donations evenly between the two major parties, with the Labor party and Liberal party both receiving $27,500 apiece.
In 2018-19, Optus donated $28,500 to each of the major parties.
Vocus donated $7750 to the Liberal party and $550 to the Labor party in 2019-20, significantly less than the $85,100 it donated to the major parties last year.
iTnews makes no suggestion of any impropriety relating to these donors and the political parties involved.
While telcos continue to be regular political donors, other technology companies have been largely absent from the AEC’s list since 2015-16.