SOS supports political donations reform to reduce the risk and perception of corruption and undue influence and to reduce conflicts of interest. Victoria has some of the weakest political donation integrity laws in Australia. Australian laws are weak compared to comparable democracies.
What do we need to stop ‘the risk and perception of corruption and undue influence’?
- Donations over $1,000 should be reported. This should include: disclosure of aggregate amounts and associated entities; a prohibition of anonymous donations and requirement that major donors also submit an annual report on donations.
- Donations should be reported in real time. We need timely reporting of donations, within 14 days or real time disclosure as in certain UK and USA elections, not up to 18 months as in Victoria.
- Transparency, unambiguous rules and enforcement. We need to reform the current culture of extreme secretiveness, poor compliance and soft enforcement.
- Consider a prohibition of donations from Corporations, Unions and Lobbyists. We may need a ban on certain classes of donation, where there is an increased risk and perception of undue influence.
- Political donations: Australia’s disclosure regime needs serious reform http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-editorial/political-donations-australias-disclosure-regime-needs-serious-reform-20150729-gin3ft.html#ixzz3hKEniUvr
- Political donations: why voters are tuning out http://www.theage.com.au/comment/political-donations-why-voters-are-tuning-out-20150727-gil2vl.html
- Developers with strong political connections ‘44% more likely to win favourable decisions’ http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/may/27/developers-with-political-connections-19-more-likely-to-win-favourable-decisions
- Petro Georgio recommends limit on donations in Local Government Electoral Review – http://www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/local-government/strengthening-councils/local-government-electoral-review
- Victoria needs better tools to fight corruption http://www.theage.com.au/comment/victoria-needs-better-tools-to-fight-corruption-20150512-ggyo1o.html
- NSW contaminated in comparison to Victoria, says minister on corruption http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/nsw-contaminated-in-comparison-to-victoria-says-minister-on-corruption-20150511-ggyp15.html
- Democracy for Sale http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2014/06/23/4028997.htm
- Political donations: now for some real disclosure
- Victorian State Election 2014: Push to reform donor laws
- NSW Panel of Experts to report on political donations
- High Court rules NSW political donations laws invalid
- Political financing: regimes and reforms in Australian states and territories
For a comparative overview of political financing regimes, see: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2011-2012/PoliticalFinancing#_Toc319931606