All of the major political parties in South Australia have reached out for federal and state government support throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
- The two major parties have claimed JobKeeper payments for staff
- Labor incorrectly disclosed how much it claimed
- The Greens also won a small business grant
At a time when most businesses have taken huge financial blows, the political parties say they are not immune either.
The SA division of the Liberal Party has claimed a total of $110,000 in payments in the first six months of the year, according to new figures from the Electoral Commission of South Australia.
That figure is made up of $60,000 worth of JobKeeper payments and a $50,000 cashflow boost, both funded by the Federal Government.
The party’s state director defended the payments, saying they were used to retain staff, mainly in office and administration roles.
The SA branch of the Labor Party also claimed JobKeeper payments in the first half of the year.
“Like many organisations, the Labor Party has been heavily impacted by the COVID pandemic,” state secretary Reggie Martin said.
“We were eligible for the JobKeeper initiative, and this has allowed us to keep our staff employed, even during the months when we had to close the doors to the office and work with a skeleton staff.”
Mr Martin said the party could not say how much it claimed in JobKeeper payments because it incorrectly disclosed them and had acknowledged the error.
“We included the amount that we have received from the tax office in our return to the electoral commission, but due to a misunderstanding, we did not include the prescribed particulars for the tax office,” he said.
“We have spoken to the electoral commission, and will be submitting an amendment to our original return to clarify.”
The ALP did not apply for any other grants or cashflow boosts, Mr Martin said.
Greens also claimed small business grant
The SA Greens also claimed JobKeeper payments, but only from July onwards.
On top of that, the party received $30,241 in state and federal funding from January to June this year, including a $10,000 small business grant from the State Government.
State Treasurer Rob Lucas said the Greens would have had to meet “strict eligibility conditions” in order to receive the grant.
“The grants were open to any small business or not-for-profit organisation that met the strict eligibility conditions,” he said.
“Without knowing the specific details, I can only assume Revenue SA assessed the Greens as meeting the strict eligibility criteria and, therefore, were entitled to receive the grant.”
SA Greens state convener John Wishart defended the party’s decision to receive a further $20,241 from the Federal Government to boost cashflow.
“Unlike the major parties, the Greens refuse to take donations from corporations trying to buy influence — and so while they can rely on the support of big business through this crisis, we are supported by the very people who are currently experiencing the greatest hardship,” Mr Wishart said.
“We meet the criteria for some government support to ensure our staff can continue to advocate for people who have been impacted by the pandemic.”
SA Best has not applied for JobKeeper payments or any other grant or cashflow boost from the state or federal governments.