Major unions, big businesses fund race to win Town Hall keys

Victorian and Tasmanian unions have funnelled $200,000 to the failed campaign of Labor aligned-candidate for Melbourne Town Hall, Jennifer Yang.

By far the largest donor to Ms Yang's campaign was the Victorian-Tasmanian branch of the CFMEU, which donated $195,838 for printing and postage.

Labor-aligned candidate Jennifer Yang was supported by the CFMEU to the tune of $195,000.Credit:Eamon Gallagher

The Transport Workers' Union's Victorian-Tasmanian branch donated $3600, while the MUA's Victorian branch donated $500 to the campaign.

Ms Yang, who unsuccessfully ran as Labor's candidate against Gladys Liu in the federal Victorian seat of Chisholm last year, narrowly lost to Lord Mayor Sally Capp in the 2018 Melbourne City Council byelection.

In November's council elections, Ms Yang – who was backed by the industrial left of the ALP – won 9.2 per cent of first-preference votes, coming sixth.

Her councillor candidate, CFMEU organiser Elizabeth Doidge, was elected to Town Hall last month.

Cr Capp, who won with 53.4 per cent of the vote after preferences, took donations totalling more than $316,000 in her race to reclaim the lord mayoralty.

The two largest donations to Cr Capp's campaign were from Pratt Holdings, which donated $25,000 and New Core Group Pty Ltd, which also donated $25,000.

Other major donors include former federal member for Canberra Ros Kelly, who is the Lord Mayor's aunt and contributed $20,000 to the campaign, and private equity firm boss Mark Summerhayes and wife, brand executive Georgie Summerhayes, who gave $20,000.

Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece and Cr Capp both stumped up $20,000 from their own pockets to the campaign, and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers gave $10,000.

Lobbyists Spring Street Advisory – headed by Ken McAlpine, who was a chief of staff and policy advisor to the Bracks and Brumby state Labor governments – donated $5000 to the campaign.

Philanthropist Baillieu Myer AC donated $4000.

While Ms Yang's Labor-aligned campaign was backed with big union money the ALP gave its endorsed Labor candidate, Phil Reed, just $2783 to run his campaign.

Mr Reed attracted a $15,000 donation from the Electrical Trades Union as part of $52,564 in total donations for his campaign. That sum included $1500 from his own pocket.

Other donors included $10,000 from BTI Pty Ltd, which runs Sky Bus, $10,000 from progressive law fim Maurice Blackburn and $5000 from Friends of the ASU.

During the campaign, Cr Capp and other candidates resisted a push to have all donations disclosed in real time, saying she supported greater transparency in local government, but only a compulsory scheme would achieve it.

Some candidates participated in a voluntary donations register hosted and managed by the Hyperlocal News mastheads.

Former deputy lord mayor Arron Wood attracted $20,000 in donations from Highrise Carpentry, a firm working for Multiplex on the construction of the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest residential tower, Australia 108, in Southbank.

Despite being a vocal advocate for voluntary disclosures, Mr Wood did not disclose the $20,000 donation to Hyperlocal News.

Private equity executive Ben Gray donated $10,000 to Mr Wood's campaign, and $10,450 to Ms Yang's campaign.

Councillor Philip Le Liu contributed $95,465.76 to the campaign of lord mayor aspirant Nick Russian, whose preferences led to Cr Le Liu being elected.

Most Viewed in National

Source: Read Full Article