The Australian Greens have announced their backing for the Red Line Principles drawn up by the ‘Hands Off Our Charities’ alliance. These principles provide guidance on the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 and the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2017.
“The Greens welcome the Red Line Principles as they clearly set out practical measures to resolve the impasse over legislation that goes to the heart of how democracy works," said Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale.
“The Hands Off Our Charities alliance has provided a framework to ensure parliament gets the balance right in promoting and protecting public participation in our democracy while recognising concerns over improper influence from big business and foreign entities.
“There is increasing public cynicism towards politicians and political parties. If the Turnbull government attempts to use concern over foreign influence to limit the voice of community groups, charities and unions they will just escalate that cynicism.
“Electoral funding reform at a federal level is long overdue. The Greens commitment is to have legislation that puts strict limits on corporate and all other donations to political parties, and expenditure caps, in place before the next election.
“These reforms must be consistent with freedom of speech and freedom of association. These rights sit at the heart of our democracy and must be protected. Surely all political parties should be able to agree on such principles," Sen. Rhiannon said.
“We believe we can get the balance right so public interest advocacy by charities and not-for-profits is not constrained by laws that limit donations to political parties.
“If the Turnbull government continues to push its self-interest barrow it will just further alienate people’ from engaging in democratic processes.