A Melbourne CEO made the tech industry's biggest political donation during 2016's election year

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 13: Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shake hands before a Leaders Forum at Windsor RSL as part of the 2016 election campaign on May 13, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. The debate was the first of the election campaign. (Photo by Mick Tsikas – Pool/Getty Images)

The Australian Electoral Commission has released the political donations list for the 2015-16 year, revealing the identity of the major donors from the period surrounding the Turnbull government’s re-election.

Founder and CEO of Melbourne-headquartered DWS Limited, Danny Wallis, made the single biggest donation from the technology industry, giving $105,000 to the Liberal Party.

Collectively, data centre and communications provider Macquarie Telecom was the tech entity that donated the most to politics, dishing out $88,000 to Labor and $20,000 to the Liberals for a total of $108,000.

Optus was next on the list, giving $31,500 to each of the two major parties plus $1,500 to the NSW branch of Labor. National communications infrastructure company Vocus handed $50,000 to the Liberals as the fourth biggest tech donor.

The other tech player of note was job classifieds site Seek, which donated $22,500 to the Liberals.

Village Roadshow, while not a technology company, has had a big bearing on the sector with its leadership against television and film piracy. In December it was part of a group of entertainment companies that won a Federal Court case that forced internet service providers to block certain bit-torrent sites.

It ended up as one of the larger donors on the AEC list, giving a total of $636,200 – with the Liberals getting $357,000 and Labor claiming the rest.

Overall, mining identity Paul Marks topped the list, donating a whopping $1.3 million to the Liberal Party.

Malcolm Turnbull’s reported $1 million donation to his own party during last year’s election campaign did not appear, as it may have been made after June 30 – meaning it would appear on the 2016-17 list.

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