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Cloud over Liberal developer donations highlights need for federal law reform

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 21 Sep 2013

Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has called for the Abbott government to close the loophole that allows developers to bypass the NSW ban on corporate donations by donating to federal election campaigns.

Senator Rhiannon was responding to today's SMH reports about developer donations to the Liberal Party.

"A federal ban on political donations from companies should be a priority of the Abbott government to remove the taint of developer donations corrupting the political process," Senator Rhiannon said.

"With the Liberals in power at the three levels of government in many parts of Australia some unscrupulous developers could attempt to gain an advantage at the local and state level by donating to federal Liberal activities.

"Today's reports about possible links between political donations to Liberal Party federal election campaigns and local development approvals highlights how real these problems are.

"In NSW since 2009 it has been illegal for property developers to donate to political parties or candidates for state or local election campaigns.

"Developers, MPs or their campaign teams can undermine this ban with donations  made to the federal arm of the party or into an account of a state branch of the party earmarked for federal campaigning.

"Until the electoral funding reforms achieved in NSW are replicated in federal laws the existing loopholes enable corrupt practices to occur.

"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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