The Greens’ Democracy for Sale project has completed an overhaul of their donations data search engine, available at DemocracyforSale.net, and published analysis on all payments made to political parties since 1998. They say the grand total of reported payments made to political parties since 1998 will reach $1 billion in the 2015-2016 year.
Greens spokesperson for democracy Senator Lee Rhiannon said, “Hidden among this data could be many more donations scandals, and more nefarious relationships between vested interests and political parties.
“The scandals that dog government and opposition frontbenches year after year are not random indiscretions from ‘bad apples’; they are the product of a system which encourages a cosy relationship between vested interests, wealthy donors and political parties.
“The Democracy for Sale is about trying to illustrate that bigger picture. While we have donations laws in this country that allow enormous sums of money to flow from vested interests into the coffers of political parties, our democracy is severely compromised.
“Anyone committed to improving our democracy would accept that more ‘transparency’ of political donations is not enough on its own. But while we push for an overhaul of our current donations laws, we will continue to scrutinise the relationship between vested interests and political power and decision making.
“There is an enormous gulf between community expectations and the priorities and decisions of the major parties. Part of the reason for that is that the major parties are under the thumb of vested interests, like the powerful mining and gambling sectors.
“The Greens want to see far-reaching political donation reforms, including stricter caps on donations and election expenditure,” Senator Rhiannon said.