Six independent MPs raised $10 million to get seats in federal parliament

Independent candidates raised millions to secure federal seats.

Independent candidates raised millions to secure federal seats.

Six ‘teal’ independent candidates raised $10.2 million to help them secure seats in the federal parliament.

The latest Australian Electoral Commission figures, released on Monday, showed Wentworth MP Allegra Spender topped the list receiving $1.93 million from 661 donors, and spending $2.12 million on her campaign.

The largest single supporter for the six candidates was Climate 200, headed by Simon Holmes à Court.

Among the donors to Ms Spender was former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s son Alex, who gave her campaign $25,000.

In North Sydney, Kylea Tink raised $1.82 million from 945 donors and spent $1.38 million.

Kooyong MP Monique Ryan, who defeated former treasurer Josh Frydenberg, raised $1.84 million from 3762 donors and spent $2.12 million.

Ms Ryan said of the fundraising disclosure she was “proud to have our community effort on the record”.

“The people of Kooyong knew that going up against one of the most powerful incumbent politicians in the country to put a community independent in parliament would be tough,” she wrote on Twitter.

“But when we work together, we can achieve the [previously] impossible.”

However, Liberal MP Alan Tudge said Ms Ryan’s funding was “probably the most concentrated and least transparent funding of any campaign in Australia’s history”.

Mr Tudge said $1.1 million of the Kooyong independent’s campaign funding came from 12 wealthy individuals or entities.

Former journalist Zoe Daniel, who won the Victorian seat of Goldstein, raised $1.75 million from 1999 donors and spent $1.6 million.

In NSW, Mackellar MP Sophie Scamps raised $1.56 million from 828 donors and registered $1.2 million of spending.

Ms Scamps said in a statement Climate 200 had matched the $779,000 raised from the community on a dollar for dollar basis.

“The fact that 66 per cent of the donations I received during the election campaign were $100 or less, while a third were $50 or less, shows the extent to which my campaign was driven and powered by the community,” she said.

She said independents faced a stacked electoral system but the 2022 election saw a step towards levelling the playing field.

“The political system in Australia continues to favour the major parties who rely on donations from big business – including the fossil fuel industry – unions and lobby groups to entrench their power.”

Kate Chaney, who took the West Australian seat of Curtin, raised $1.3 million from 653 donors and spent $973,000.

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