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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Federal Greens will keep $76,501 in donations from fossil fuel investors

The federal Greens’ policy is to “ban donations from coal and gas corporations and other sectors with a track record of buying influence”.

A spokesman for the Australian Greens said the donations from Woollard, Cochrane and Keep Them Honest to federal divisions of the party’s state branches were consistent with federal donations laws.

Fred Woollard said he and his wife made their political donations in a personal capacity.Credit:Alastair Bett

“As the donors are significant investors in renewable energy, the Australian Greens believe that they wished to donate to the party with the best record on climate action because of our consistent advocacy for a rapid, managed move towards renewables and away from coal, oil and gas,” the spokesman said.

When contacted, Woollard said it was a matter for the Australian Greens whether the party would return the donations he had made to them over the years.

“I run a funds management company, not a fossil fuel company. Our fund has invested across many industries including renewable energy. Our fund invests in the world as it is. Oil shares were very cheap in 2020 and 2021, so we bought some,” he said.

“We make political donations in the hope of improving NSW and Australia. Political donations are made by us personally and have nothing to do with the fund.

“Our fund is run in the interests of its unit-holders. We have no plans to change our investment strategy.”

Keep Them Honest donated a total of $314,000 at last year’s election and was a significant supporter ($100,000) of Climate 200 – which backed a number of teal independent candidates – and donated $50,000 to now-senator David Pocock, $20,000 to then-senator Rex Patrick, $74,000 to NSW Labor and $50,000 to the Local Party of Australia.

Woollard and Cochrane have also personally donated to Labor and on one occasion, to the Liberals.

When the Australian Electoral Commission published the most recent round of donations last month, the Greens criticised the Liberals, Nationals and Labor for accepting millions of dollars from coal and gas corporations.

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.

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