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Labor goes limp on donations reform: time for corporate ban

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 23 Nov 2011

Greens Senator and democracy spokesperson Lee Rhiannon is urging the Labor government to take bolder steps and ban corporate donations to restore the public's faith in democracy.

"It's clear from Labor's submission to the parliamentary inquiry into party and election funding, released today, that it's back-peddling from the far reaching electoral funding reforms set out in Senator Faulkner's 2008 Green Paper," Senator Rhiannon said.

"With progress being made on cleaning up donations in NSW and QLD, there is an urgent need for national uniform laws banning corporate donations.

"Labor, with the support of the Greens, has a golden opportunity through this inquiry to remove the taint of big corporate money in Australian politics, with donations reform a key plank of our agreement with Labor.

"If the government cannot support a complete ban, it should at the very least end donations from the tobacco, alcohol, property development, gambling and pharmaceutical industries.

"In the last decade, tobacco companies have donated almost $1.1 million to Federal Labor and the Coalition, property companies $11.2 million and the gaming industry nearly half a million alone.

"Strict limits should also be imposed on the amount corporations and other organisations can donate and parties can receive.

"We welcome Labor's proposal for a tighter disclosure regime, lowering the threshhold from the Howard government's pumped up $11,600 to $1,000 and six monthly disclosures.

"Labor's support for party administrative funding and the Liberal Party's willingness to negotiate on this issue are also welcome.

"But bigger steps are needed and it appears the major parties have lost interest.

"The public perception is that political parties which accept large corporate donations are conflicted when decisions are made that impact on related industries.

"It's time political parties broke their addiction to big corporate donations," said Senator Rhiannon.

Submissions to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters from the Australian Labor Party and Liberal Party are online.

See also Senator Rhiannon's<> project.

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