Corporate political donations in Australia : frequency, location, and motivation of voluntary disclosures
Australasian Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research Conference (6th : 2007) (2 - 4 December 2007 : Sydney)
James Guthrie, Geoffrey Frost, Matthew Egan, Sharron O'Neill, Abdul Razeed, Nonna Martinov-Bennie, Sandra van der Laan, Cornelia Beck, Jeffery Unerman, Amanda Ball, Markus Miln. Proceedings of the 6th Australasian Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research Conference
Motivated by the controversy surrounding corporate lobbying and corporate political donations, this study considers voluntary Australian corporate political donation disclosures. The frequency, quality, location and motivation of disclosures are investigated from a Legitimacy Theory perspective. While Australian corporations must disclose political donations to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) annually, they are not compelled to disclose this information in either annual reports, or stand-alone reports, or websites. Voluntary disclosures of a sample comprising 164 companies which donated $40,000 or more during the fiscal years 2004, 2005 and 2006 were analysed. Findings were low frequency and quality of voluntary political donation disclosures. Most disclosures were made in annual reports. Evidence supporting Legitimacy theory, is mixed. While the narrative of disclosures and industry characteristics of disclosing companies were consistent with the theory, the lack of disclosure overall suggested that voluntary disclosures of corporate political donations were not a prevalent legitimating device.