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Mafia, Money and Malcolm – political donation, lobbyist reform must be top priority

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 23 May 2016

Today's report that Malcom Turnbull lunched with a Mafia associate involved in fund raising for the Liberals when he was opposition leader reveals the dangers of touting for corporate political donations, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said. 

“The big lesson from the latest political donation scandal that details Mafia figures attending Liberal fundraisers highlights the urgent need for far reaching reforms to electoral funding and lobbyist laws,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

“The Prime Minister has stated that he does not remember the names of the Mafia associates that are now causing him acute embarrassment. I am not doubting the accuracy of the PM’s memory. 

“However, the fact an opposition leader lunches with Mafia associates at a political party fundraiser should send shock waves through the election campaigns of all parties that are now inviting the corporate world to donate to their party and candidates for this election campaign. 

“The Australian Federal Police identified a ‘lack of checks and oversights' in the political donation system back in 2007, yet we've seen no action from the major parties on donations reform.

“Earlier this year Liberal, National and Labor MPs voted together to block the Greens bills to clean up electoral funding laws. If passed, the changes would have banned corporate political donations from the mining, alcohol, gambling and tobacco industries and developers, and also tightened up disclosure requirements.

"Limiting the corrupting influence of donations should be backed by all political parties.

“This latest report of people linked to Mafia attempting to influence Australian politics via fundraising should be reason enough for the Coalition and Labor to back the Greens call for electoral funding and lobbyist reform.

“I will be writing to the AFP today to request they restart their investigation into Mafia figures and political donations and bribery,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

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