The Gillard government should broaden electoral funding reforms promised before the upcoming election to ban corporate donations outright which would help build public trust in our democratic system that has been dented by the Obeid and Thomson affairs, says Greens Senator and Australian Greens democracy spokesperson Lee Rhiannon.
The Australian Greens have completed preliminary analysis of new data released today by the Australian Electoral Commission for 2011/2012 (see here and below).
"The new AEC data shows a damaging donations culture continues, with $12.3 million dollars flowing from big business to the federal divisions of Labor and Coalition parties in the last financial year", Senator Rhiannon said.
"Donations to both major parties are down by approximately $4 million on last year, which is to be expected outside of the election cycle.
"Special Minister of State Gary Gray recently foreshadowed new electoral funding reforms will be put to parliament by June 30, including lowering the disclosure threshold to $1,000, but they do not go far enough.
"The Gillard government should show its reform muscle and recommit to substantial reforms to clean up corporate donations.
"With co-operation from the Greens, Minister Gray's new electoral reform bill could successfully ban corporate donations, cap individual donations, limit expenditure by policy parties, candidates and third parties and publicly fund election campaigns.
"Public confidence in democracy and the major parties would be boosted if these important and long overdue reforms went ahead.
"Federal Labor disclosed $7.5 million - $5.6 million were donations above the $11,900 threshold. The federal Coalition parties disclosed $4.7 million and the Australian Greens disclosed $757,000 in donations.
"Money continues to flow from property companies, donating around $700K to federal Labor and Liberal Parties and clubs, alcohol and gaming companies donated over half a million.
"Resource and energy companies were generous to both parties, with $463K to Labor and $191K to the Coalition. Over half a million dollars in donations were made by the pharmaceutical and medical industries to the major parties.
"Interestingly tobacco donations have dried up despite the Liberal Party's willingness to accept them in the past," Senator Rhiannon said.
Visit the Greens donations project: www.democracy4sale.org