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Call for Shorten to put backbone into political donation reform plan

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 25 Jan 2016

The Greens have called on opposition leader Bill Shorten to put backbone into his electoral funding reforms and include a ban on political donations from for-profit corporations in his package, or at least implement strict donation caps. 

“While it is essential to improve transparency on who is funding candidates and parties by lowering the bar on donation disclosure from $13,000 to $1000, the NSW experience shows that this measure on its own only makes a small contribution to ending the culture of buying political influence,” Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said. 

“Mr Shorten should show leadership on caps on election spending and political donations by making a commitment to the Australian public that Labor will legislate on this if elected.

“When Labor was last in government it had the opportunity to pass reforms and did nothing. We need action not just talk. 

“It’s time Labor expanded its package of democracy reforms to include support for a National ICAC and a ban or strict caps on political donations from for-profit corporations, and commits to implementing limits on election expenditure. 

“This is the way to end the toxic combination of donations and political influence. 

“Between 2009 and 2014 in NSW the minerals industry donated more than $5 million, the gambling industry $4 million and the property industry more than $9 million to political parties.

“During this period NSW government decisions were made to advantage those industries. 

“At the time political donations in NSW over $1000 had to be publicly disclosed. The public scrutiny this provided was welcome but it’s clear it did not do enough to reduce influence peddling. 

"The Greens NSW Democracy4Sale project that has run for more than a decade has put the spotlight on political donations and the corporate bankrolling of parties and candidates,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

Greens NSW Democracy4Sale - http://democracyforsale.net/ 

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