Political donations in NSW

13 October 2010

Property developers who make political donations or pay to be present at political party events risk reputational damage in NSW. The media are keen to report perceived transgressions of the ban on property developer donations (see for example this article here).

Remember, any amount paid to participate in a fund-raising function is a political donation under the law. This means paying to attend political party dinners, lunches, etc is the same as making a political donation. Political donations made by (or on behalf) of property developers and their close associates are unlawful. Donations are unlawful even when the amount is below $1,000.

As the NSW state election approaches it is likely that some professional property developers will be invited to political party events. Political parties have attempted to remove known property developers from their databases, but errors are still being made. If you are a developer or a close associate of one, and you pay to attend that event, or someone else pays on your behalf, you risk reputational damage. It will not matter whether the political party invited you to attend or not.