Westpac plans to keep giving money to political parties

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the National Press Club in Canberra. Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Westpac will continue political donations and won’t follow the NAB in stopping payments.

Brian Hartzer, being questioned in the House of Representatives economics committee yesterday, said: “Our policy is very clear and we don’t have any plans to change it.”

The bank’s policy says:

    We believe we have a responsibility to support the democratic process and make sure governments are well informed of our activities. We are therefore committed to ensuring that any political donations we make are:

  • Solely for the purpose of supporting the democratic process
  • Lawful and properly recorded in our accounts
  • Adequately disclosed in accordance with relevant electoral laws
  • Not made where there can be any misrepresentation of their purpose.

Australian Electoral Commission records show Westpac donated $176,455 in 2014-15 to political parties.

The ANZ Bank is reviewing its political support. Yesterday CEO Shayne Elliott was questioned by the parliamentary committee today about $1.65 million donated by the ANZ to the Coalition and Labor parties.

He replied: “We are having discussions with our board about political donations and our position on that.”

The NAB has revealed that it stopped making any political donations at a federal, state or local government level from May this year.

The Commonwealth Bank already has a policy of no political donations but it does attend events and the costs of this add up to as much as $100,000 a year, according to Australian Electoral Commission numbers.

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