News National Taxpayers help foot the bill for federal election campaigns

Taxpayers help foot the bill for federal election campaigns

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the campaign trail in Tasmania. Photo: AAP
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Scott Morrison’s upset election cost the Liberal Party at least $27 million according to electoral authorities and now taxpayers will refund the party the same cash amount.

The Australian Electoral Commission has now finalised $69 million in election funding payments to political parties and candidates for the 2019 federal election.

It reveals Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party will also secure a $2.84 million payday, but like the Liberal Party she’s had to prove her campaign spent that amount to get the cash.

Once upon a time, political parties were awarded public funding based simply on how many voters they got, leaving the door open to claims of profiteering.

But under the new rules, candidates that secure 4 per cent of the formal first preference vote at the May 18 election received an automatic payment of election funding of $10,080.

To receive election funding greater than the automatic payment, they need to prove how much they spent and how many votes they got. The money is then awarded based on a combination of both factors.

That arrangement has left the Labor Party in the red despite securing $24.6 million, because they budgeted in a higher primary vote.

Billionaire Clive Palmer, who has previously told The New Daily that he spent around $70 million – more than the Liberal Party and Labor Party combined – secured a poor return on his investment because he secured fewer votes.

Mr Palmer’s party will secure a refund of just $650,0000.

Jacqui Lambie, who funded her own campaign partly from appearing on reality TV programs, spent $54,0000 to get elected and will be refunded the same amount.

Independent candidate Zali Steggall will secure $110,000 after her cashed-up campaign to kick former prime minister Tony Abbott out of Parliament.