The controversy surrounding Australian Water Holdings and its former chair Arthur Sinodinos over donations to both federal and NSW Coalition parties and AWH's links with a company associated with Eddie Obeid underlines why the federal government and opposition should back political donation reform, Australian Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said today.
"The machinations involving Senator Sinodinos' shareholdings in Australian Water, the donations made to the National and Liberal parties and the Obeids' profit leaves a bad taste," Senator Rhiannon said ("Sinodinos' $3.7m giveaway, AFR p 1 today).
"Who knows whether these donations opened the door to AWH's meetings with Premier O'Farrell, the Treasurer and his Finance Minister, but the impression of undue influence taints democracy.
"The President of the NSW Liberal Party Senator Arthur Sinodinos is trying to wash his hands of the shareholdings with Australian Water Holdings but the mud will no doubt stick.
"With the federal Coalition now receiving the lion's share of political donations Mr Abbott is unlikely to follow the lead of other jurisdictions like Canada, NSW, Tasmania and Queensland which have cleaned up their electoral funding systems.
"The ball is in the Gillard government's court to join with the Greens and vote to remove the stain of big business buying sway through donations by banning them outright," Senator Rhiannon said.