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Call for Labor conference to make political donation reform top priority

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 8 Jul 2015

Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has urged Labor Party officials to ensure far reaching political donation reform is a top priority for debate and decision at their July National Conference.

"Labor need to come out of its national conference with a strong plan to place limits on private donations to political parties and candidates," Senator Rhiannon said.

"We need action, not just commentary every time a scandal is exposed.

"I have written to Mr Shorten requesting Labor supports the Greens bill currently before the Senate that would ban political donations from developers, tobacco, alcohol, gambling and mining industries and backs the formation of a national ICAC.

"These measures are important steps towards the far reaching reforms that are needed.

"The Greens are calling for tight caps on private political donations, strict limits on election expenditure and continuous disclosure of all donations over $1000.

"It is excellent that NSW Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon and shadow special minister of state Gary Gray have raised the need for reform following the troubling reports of Mafia figures making political donations to gain a benefit.

"Labor should not use the Coalition's reluctance to act on electoral funding reform as an excuse. It can help force the Coalition to improve our democracy.

"Opposition Leader Bill Shorten would be wise to make political donation reform a key issue for his office and an election campaign priority.

"The need for national reform was clearly shown by the work of ICAC, the NSW corruption watchdog. Their investigations revealed that some NSW Liberals sidestepped state limits on donations by funnelling donations through their federal office.

"Reform at the federal level is long overdue.

"The Greens NSW Democracy4Sale project work in monitoring the past decade of political donations has put the spotlight on the influence peddling associated with corporate bankrolling of parties and candidates," Senator Rhiannon said.

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