5 December 2013
Call for federal ICAC, ban political donations – solution to political corruption
Commenting on news reports about allegations linking Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos and Liberal MP Karen McNamara with problematic political donations, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has called for the establishment of a federal corruption watchdog and a ban on corporate donations.
Senator Rhiannon said: “A federal ICAC needs to be urgently established so a systemic investigation into the corrupting influence of political fundraisers and donations can be quickly initiated.
“The level of corruption that the NSW ICAC hearings are uncovering is alarming, with new shady dealings involving politicians being regularly revealed.
“Now Senator Sinodinos and Ms McNamara are caught up in unsavoury political donation the Coalition should reassess its opposition to electoral funding reform.
“Prime Minister Tony Abbott would be wise to remember that the public started turning away from NSW Labor over numerous political donation scandals, not dissimilar to what the Liberals are now facing.
“A national ban on corporate donations to political parties is also needed as a matter of urgency. This is how we can put the brakes on corrupt activities as it reduces the power dishonest MPs can wield and such a ban will restore the confidence of the voting public.
“It was disappointing that the Greens motion on improved political donation disclosure failed in the Senate yesterday.
“Compared with NSW and Queensland little progress has been made in federal politics to reduce the influence of donations over the political process.
"The Greens NSW campaigned successfully for changes to state laws. We are continuing this work for electoral funding reform at the federal level," Senator Rhiannon said.
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Notice of Motion - Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales)
I give notice that on 2 December 2013 I will move:
That the Senate—
1) Notes that:
a. Political donations for the 2013 federal election made on or after 1 July 2013 will not be made public until 1 February 2015.
b. Political donations under $12,400 do not have to be disclosed by parties or candidates to the Australian Electoral Commission.
c. This higher disclosure threshold level means the public is not aware of the details of a large number of political donations received by political parties.
2) Calls for:
a. A donation disclosure threshold of $1,000.
b. A ban on overseas donations.
c. A $50 cap on anonymous donations.
d. Donations to different branches of a political party to be accumulated and treated as donations to the same party in order to stop political parties minimising their disclosure obligations by donation splitting.
e. Six-monthly disclosure of donations and political expenditure.
f. Online disclosure of donations over $1000 in the three months prior to an election or from when the election is called.
SENATOR LEE RHIANNON