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Dastyari's mistake must lead to reform: Greens

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 7 Sep 2016

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, offering to work constructively with both to bring about major donations reform, in the wake of Sam Dastyari’s acceptance of foreign donations.

“Sam Dastyari made a terrible mistake but what he did is within the rules, which shows the rules are broken and need to be fixed,” said Greens Leader Richard Di Natale.

“We just can’t continue with the system where you’ve got huge donations from corporations and foreign entities to political parties and individuals, because they’re making that contribution with one expectation: to get decisions made in Parliament House that favour their own narrow self-interest.

“Quite rightly people are concerned that our democracy is for sale so the Prime Minister should take this opportunity to finally show some leadership, work with the Greens, the Opposition, and those in his own party who’ve shown support for getting big money out of Australian politics.

“Public trust in politicians has never been lower so let’s behave like grown-ups, let’s have a conversation about how we fix it, and let’s give people the confidence to know that decisions aren’t being made in the interests of big corporate donors, but they’re being made in the interests of the Australian community.”

Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

“When Liberals like George Brandis and Christoper Pyne talk down the political donation link in the Dastyari example they are signalling that they want to retain access to enormous overseas political donations. 

“Today Senator Dastyari has promised to personally reform and improve his integrity, but what the public really needs is a commitment from Labor that they will back far-reaching donation reforms including strict caps on donations and election expenditure.

“During the last two parliaments I have put three motions on donations reform to the parliament and all three have been defeated on the combined vote of the Liberals, Nationals and Labor.

“There is an enormous gulf between community expectations and our current political donations regime, so it is time that the government and opposition changed their tune and accepted that political donation reforms need to go way beyond a ban on overseas donations.”

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