The appointment of Bill Ferris, chair of CHAMP Private Equity, as head of Innovation Australia again puts the spotlight on the need for a ban on for-profit companies donating to political parties, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
“CHAMP, the company headed by Mr Ferris, has made donations to both the Liberal and Labor parties, including $15,000 to The Wentworth Forum in 2007/08.
“The Wentworth Forum is a fundraising initiative dedicated to ‘(engaging) members of the Wentworth community and other personal supporters of Malcolm Turnbull.
“Appointments to key positions such as chair of Innovation Australia should be unsullied by political donations.
“A ban at the federal level on political donations from for-profit corporations is urgently needed.
“Banning for-profit companies donating to political parties would remove any perception that party leaders back their political donors.
“A recent High Court case has explored patron-client corruption. The Court stated this is where ‘officeholders will decide issues not on the merits or the desires of their constituencies, but according to the wishes of those who have made large financial contributions valued by the officeholder’.
“There is no suggestion of wrong doing on the part of Mr Ferris, or Minister Pyne or Prime Minister Turnbull in appointing Mr. Ferris,” Senator Rhiannon said.