Shock, horror – ACTU campaign funded by unions

Jamie Briggs is not the only person calling for electoral law reform that has already occurred. In today’s Crikey email they say:

…the role of third party activities must also be addressed. Nowhere in today’s figures will you see the cost of the union movement’s “Your Rights At Work” campaign, which was a major component in Labor’s victory.

But as The Age‘s report correctly noted, the political expenditure laws did require the ACTU to disclose the nearly $16 million they spent, mostly on the Your Rights at Work campaign. While this is of some interest to close followers of politics, it is hard to see why the ACTU should have to disclose it. That the ACTU was campaigning strongly on this issue was not exactly a secret. And who would have guessed that union donations paid for it?

GetUp! dislosed $1.3 million in expenditure, but less than $200,000 in donations, reflecting its large donor base. Their biggest single donors were Lonely Planet travel guide founders Maureen and Anthony Wheeler, who gave $82,500. More discreetly, $50,000 came from Jagen, the investment vehicle of the Liberman family. While lefties often like to parade their ‘social conscience’, it is hard to see why GetUp! should be forced to reveal this information. It does not tell us anything we need to know about GetUp!’s campaigns.

This data plus the political party donations also disclosed today shows that the left massively outspends the right in modern politics. It is not surprising – but not to their credit – that Liberal politicians want to throw as many bureaucratic obstacles in the left’s financial path as is possible. It is much less clear why Labor is going along with it, except that they been caught up in the groupthink surrounding this issue.