LABOR LEADS ON DONATION REFORM
The release of the 2016 federal election disclosure returns this week highlights the need for political donation reform.
The Australian Electoral Commission published the returns on its website this week and Shayne Neumann said local people have made it clear they want greater transparency.
“It is time for Malcolm Turnbull to listen to the public and undertake much-needed political donation reform,” Mr Neumann said.
“I have disclosed every donation over $1,000 as have all my Labor colleagues, as I believe I need to be accountable to the people of Ipswich and the Somerset Region.
“The LNP, Greens and One Nation will only disclose donations of $13,200 or more. Quite frankly, the public expects more.”
Mr Neumann said the Labor Party had been the party of action when it comes to political donation reform.
“It was Labor under the Hawke Government that set a disclosure threshold for political donations of $1,500 and introduced public funding, reducing political parties’ reliance on donations.
“The Liberal Party has always worked to unwind these reforms.”
The Howard Coalition Government undid that good work when it raised the threshold to $10,000 in 2006 and indexed it to the Consumer Price Index, which has seen the threshold blow out to $13,200.
“Labor is proud to have continually fought for improved transparency and greater accountability.
“We took a policy of significant donation reform to the last election and, in November, introduced legislation in the Senate to deliver our policy.”
Labor’s plan for political donation reform will:
Reduce the donation disclosure limit from the current level of $13,200 (indexed to inflation) to a fixed $1000.
- Prohibit the receipt of foreign donations.
- Ban ‘donation splitting’ where donations are spread between different branches of political parties and associated entities – like the Free Enterprise Foundation – to avoid disclosure obligations.
- Ban the receipt of anonymous donations above $50.
- Link public funding to campaign expenditure.
- Introduce new offences and increased penalties for abuses of the political donation disclosure regime.
“In contrast, the Liberal party has been responsible for an increased disclosure threshold and reduced transparency.
“It is time for Malcolm Turnbull to show some leadership and ensure that his party supports these important measures designed to improve the political donations system and public confidence in its integrity.”