Gillard’s Labor Fundraising Tally Lags Behind Coalition Rivals

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s ruling Labor party, trailing in polls ahead of the Sept. 14 election, also lagged behind her rival Liberal-National coalition in donations in the most recent period disclosed.

Labor’s various branches received reported donations of about A$3.6 million ($3.8 million) in the year to June 30, according to Bloomberg analysis of Australian Electoral Commission data released today. That compares with about A$7.3 million in reported donations for the opposition coalition.

Among the biggest reported donors in the period for Labor were the Canberra Labor Club, which runs four food and entertainment venues in the nation’s capital, with more than A$1 million; Labor-affiliated John Curtin House with about A$800,000; and various contributions from union bodies. The Liberals received A$2.3 million from a foundation set up for fundraising; the Australian Hotels Association donated A$250,000; and Ramsay Health Care Ltd. contributed A$100,000.

The figures come two days after Gillard announced the poll date, setting Australia up for its longest election campaign. The Tony Abbott-led coalition has pledged to rescind Labor’s taxes on carbon and mining profits, installed July 1.

Total donor returns in the year to all parties and candidates totaled A$12.8 million, less than half the A$29.2 million the year before, which included the August 2010 election. Labor collected A$49.6 million in total receipts, which include other sources of income, in the year to June 30, compared with A$55.1 million for the Liberals and A$8.2 million for the Nationals.

Labor rose 3 percentage points to 49 percent on a two-party preferred basis, with the coalition falling 3 points to 51 percent, according to a Newspoll survey published Jan. 15. The measure is the best gauge of which major party is likely to win the seats required to form a government.