Despite recent corruption scandals and evidence of systemic fraud in the banking sector, Liberal, National and Labor Senators have joined together to vote down a Greens Senate motion calling for political donation reform, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
“We are on the eve of an election clouded by political donations scandals, yet Labor, the Liberals and Nationals refuse to cooperate to break the political donations arms race,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“With the property and banking industries donating over $3.3m to the major parties last year alone, it looks like money comes before democracy for those who vote against reform.
“There is growing evidence of a culture of corruption at Leighton Holdings since at least 2010, yet the Labor and Liberal parties have happily pocketed over $143,000 since the Unaoil scandal took place.
“In the McCloy case last year, the High Court articulated the clear link between political donations and corruption.
“It is time to clean up our political system and, at the very least, ban donations from industries we know have a corrupting influence on our democracy.
“As politicians and policymakers we should be guided by our constituencies and not by the chequebook.
“Elections should be fought on ideas, not fancy dinners and political donations cheques,” Senator Rhiannon said.
NOTICE OF MOTION 19 April 2016
I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move –
That the Senate –
a) notes that:
i) there is strong evidence that Leighton Holdings paid millions of dollars to Unaoil in 2010 and 2011 and was involved in serious corruption in Iraq,
ii) since 2010, Leighton Holdings has donated at least $143,000 to the federal Liberal and Labor parties,
iii) in 2014/15 the property industry donated $1.8 million to the Liberal Party and $591,167 to the Labor Party,
iv) in 2014/15, Westpac, ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth Bank and Macquarie Group donated $1,057,361 to the major parties,
v) in 2013/14, Brickworks provided $263,000 in donations to the Liberal Party and offered in-kind campaign support to the federal Liberal Party to repeal the carbon price,
vi) High Court Justices Kiefel, Bell, Keane and Chief Justice French stated in McCloy v NSW that reliance by political candidates on private patronage may, over time become so necessary as to sap the vitality as well as the integrity of the political branches of government; and
b) calls on the Government to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to ban donations from property developers, tobacco industry business entities, liquor business entities, gambling industry business entities, mineral resources or mining industry business entities, and industry lobby groups who represent these entities.