The High Court decision last week on the case initiated by the Newcastle developer Jeff McCloy has the potential to end the corrupting influence political donations have on our democratic institutions.
Fortunately this High Court case has been followed by yesterday’s report (SMH 12 October 2015) that the NSW Premier Mike Baird has written to the federal government to add his voice to the growing call for these reforms to be national and uniform.
The actions of the former Newcastle mayor Mr McCloy, the person who initiated the High Court case, underline the urgency of these reforms.
McCloy has described himself as a ‘walking ATM’ who dispensed over $30, 000 to state Liberal candidates during the 2011 election campaign.
Now the test is with the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Does he have the leadership qualities to turn off the tap of private patronage that the High Court identified becomes “so necessary as to sap the vitality, as well as the integrity of the political branches of government?”
You can read the High Court ruling in McCloy & ORS v State of NSW & ANOR  here.
Last week my colleague David Shoebridge MP wrote an opinion piece in the Newcastle Herald, 'The Power of Corporate Patrons'. You can read it here. David writes: 'Elected representatives should be beholden to no-one apart from their electorate. This will only happen when we change the law. What's stopping this happening is not the High Court, it is the collective purchasing power of corporate patrons across Australia.'