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Abbott does our job for us – illustrates need for donations reform

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 5 May 2016

Yesterday evening former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in a speech to the chamber, said of retiring Minister Ian Macfarlane’s efforts to dump Labor’s mining tax:  ‘It was a magnificent achievement by the [member] for Groom in his time as minister ... and I hope the sector will acknowledge and demonstrate their gratitude to him in his years of retirement from this place…’

Greens Senator and spokesperson for democracy Lee Rhiannon has said that Tony Abbott’s latest indiscretion strengthens the case for political donation reform. 

“Last night Tony Abbott did us all a favour and clearly spelt out a key problem with our political system.

“Abbott’s latest gaffe, where he publicly asked the mining and resources sector to ‘demonstrate their gratitude’ to Ian Macfarlane for scrapping Labor’s mining tax, is a stark example of the need for political donation reform. 

“We have a situation where Ministers look to their chequebooks, and not their constituencies, when making policy decisions.

“Too often Ministers provide a secure framework, grants and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and in exchange expect jobs upon retirement.

“There are corruptible links between the major parties and the mining sector. For every dollar the fossil fuel sector donates to the major political parties, they receive around $2000 in subsidies. 

“Former senior Cabinet Ministers Greg Combet, Craig Emerson and Martin Ferguson, as well as former Deputy Prime Ministers John Anderson and Mark Vaile, have all left politics to lobby for the CSG industry. 

“The Greens will continue to urge all parties to reform the vastly inadequate regulations which govern political lobbying, and for a ‘cooling off’ period for politicians who take up jobs in the industries that they had jurisdiction over as Cabinet Ministers. 

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