Australia’s federal political donation laws are weak and ineffective. We know big political donations corrupt our politics and weaken our democracy: big industries like gambling, fossil fuels and banking are capitalising on our weak political donation laws, giving millions to rub shoulders with and influence power.
Whether it’s Adani’s $200,000 donation to the Liberal and National Parties a month after getting federal approval for its polluting Carmichael mine, or the gambling industry’s huge uptick in political donations every time pokie reform is mentioned, we know big industries contribute millions to the major parties because they work.
In States like Queensland and NSW, donations of a couple of thousand dollars need to be disclosed regularly, and large donations to political parties (over $6,000) are prohibited altogether. By contrast there’s no limit on how much big donors can give to our federal politicians, large donations (over $14,500) only have to be disclosed once a year, and many contributions don’t have to be disclosed at all.
- 1 billion dollars of “dark money” — undisclosed income — has flooded our federal political parties in the last 20 years as a result of the many loopholes in laws that regulate political donations.
- Our laws don’t require donors to disclose political fundraising events, where they charge industry executives thousands of dollars for a literal seat at the table with the Ministers who regulate their industry.
We need federal Parliament to follow the States’ lead and pass laws that:
- Require public disclosure of smaller donations, in real time;
- Require public disclosure of all kinds of contributions to political parties, including fundraising dinners and membership fees;
- Prohibit large, corrupting donations to politicians altogether.