Child safety campaigner Hetty Johnston
Child safety campaigner Hetty Johnston

Deeply personal reason behind huge political donation

THE second largest political donation to an individual in the country went to child safety campaigner Hetty Johnston from a man whose child she saved from abuse 15 years ago.

NSW real estate consultants and consumer advocates Neil and Reiden Jenman donated more than $120,000 to Bravehearts founder's Senate campaign in May and have now revealed the deeply personal reason behind the gift.

Mr Jenman said in 2004 one of his six children was at risk of abuse.

Child safety advocate and former Senate candidate Hetty Johnston received the second largest political donation to an individual in 2019 – $120,719. Picture: Annette Dew
Child safety advocate and former Senate candidate Hetty Johnston received the second largest political donation to an individual in 2019 – $120,719. Picture: Annette Dew

At the time he called Bravehearts, Ms Johnston called him back and offered him advice he credits with saving his child.

"I had no idea the problem regarding child abuse was so prevalent until 15 years ago when one of my own children was at risk," he said.

"She helped me, she helped my wife and didn't ask anything in return."

Asked why he donated such a large amount, Mr Jenman said "because I hate pedophiles and I love Hetty Johnston."

"If the 25 million people in Australia all knew Hetty Johnston like I do, they all would have slung in $10 each."

He said it was the first time he made a political donation.

Ms Johnston, who was unsuccessful in her campaign, said she had become close friends with the Mr Jenman since that time 15 years ago.

"He's got a heart the size of Queensland. He's a beautiful human being and a really genuine man," she said.

Consumer advocate Neil Jenman with his wife Reiden, in 2007. They made a $120,000 donation to Senate candidate Hetty Johnston. Picture: News Corp
Consumer advocate Neil Jenman with his wife Reiden, in 2007. They made a $120,000 donation to Senate candidate Hetty Johnston. Picture: News Corp

The largest donation to an individual came from green group Climate 200, linked to Simon Holmes a Court, which donated $145,000 to independent Kooyong Oliver Yates who campaigned on climate change.

Details about donations and expenses for individual candidates were released yesterday by the Australian Electoral Commission, while donations and expenses for political party's are yet to be published.

It revealed Fraser Anning's Conservative National party candidates spent more $48,500 of their own money at the May election but received just 49,000 votes.

Mr Anning himself, who is currently in the US but is facing bankruptcy hearings in Australia, failed to lodge a submission.

It could see him fined up to $12,600.

Almost all candidates for Clive Palmer's United Australia Party in Queensland received a single donation of between $1500 and $3000, totalling $46,578 between them.

Despite this they declared just $1178 on electoral expenses. This does not include money spent by the UAP on its recording-breaking election advertising.

Of the 30 UAP candidates, 27 had their telephone numbers listed with the AEC disconnected and two did not receive a donation.

Ryan candidate Larry Crouch said his $1500 donation came from the UAP.

"It was from the party to assist with election day expenses," he said.



COVID: What you can and can’t do in Qld right now

Premium Content COVID: What you can and can’t do in Qld right now

Deputy Premier rules out any changes to restrictions this weekend

Wild weather with heavy rain, ‘tornado’ reports

Premium Content Wild weather with heavy rain, ‘tornado’ reports

Warwick residents pulled out their phones to grab shots of the incredible weather...

Glorious arrival welcomed by Rose City gardeners

Premium Content Glorious arrival welcomed by Rose City gardeners

The spring rain has prompted some delicious innovation in the kitchen.