Donations and other payments to political parties fell by nearly half in the last financial year leaving each of the parties with substantial debts as they prepare for the upcoming campaign.
All political parties received a total of $125,035,599 in 2011/12 – down from $228,428,888 in 2010/11.
The last federal election was held in 2010 and donations and other payments typically drop off immediately after an election has been held.
The Liberal Party banked the most money – $55,057,913 – while the Labor Party recorded $49,562,954. The National Party reported $8,181,710 and the Greens received $4,273,859.
The biggest contribution to the Liberal Party of Australia, $505,000, came from Paul Ramsay Holdings, whose investments include Ramsay Health Care and the Sydney A-League football club.
The company also donated $5000 to the Liberal Party's Victorian division, while Ramsay Health Care itself donated $100,000 to the Liberal Party.
Other big donors to the Liberal Party were the Australian Hotels Association ($250,000) and the publicly-listed mining, pharmaceutical and building products firm Washington H Soul Pattinson and Company ($200,000).
Mining magnate Clive Palmer, through his company Mineralogy, remained the Queensland Liberal National Party's largest donor giving it $176,700.
Mr Palmer's Mineralogy also donated $27,500 to the National Party of Australia last financial year.
Mr Palmer was suspended from the LNP in November and quit the party two weeks later.
Billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart's Hancock Coal donated $22,000 to the Liberal Party and $5000 to the ALP. Ms Rinehart is a major shareholder in Fairfax Media, owner of this publication.
The Labor Party's three largest donors were Visa ($150,800), the Westfield Group ($150,000) and Woodside Energy ($126,500).
However, the report also shows the lack of transparency around the rules of disclosing donations.
Reforms by the federal government mean the information is based on the first year in which parties are required to disclose any donations or other payments above $11,900.
Parties are still able to avoid classifying donations as such if they can prove a service was provided in return for the money.
For example, a company could spend $20,000 attending a dinner at which a government minister was speaking but be able to describe this to the Australian Electoral Commission as an ''other receipt'' not a donation.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon called on the government to ''show its reform muscle and recommit to substantial reforms to clean up corporate donations''.
''With co-operation from the Greens, [Special Minister for State] Gary Gray's new electoral reform bill could successfully ban corporate donations, cap individual donations, limit expenditure by policy parties, candidates and third parties and publicly fund election campaigns,'' Senator Rhiannon said.
''Public confidence in democracy and the major parties would be boosted if these important and long overdue reforms went ahead.''