DEMOCRACY FOR SALE
We constantly hear about politicians abusing their “entitlements” but there are two related issues that are far more important. Issues that undermine our entire democratic system:
Despite constantly claiming to strongly support democracy, governments have always been reluctant to introduce transparency in this area - but this may be changing. The Queensland Government has just introduced mandatory real-time disclosure of donations. A great step forward and one that may encourage others to follow suit. This their site: Electronic Disclosure System
Funding & Disclosure (Inc) was formed to lobby for real-time donations disclosure and we congratulate the Queensland government for having taken this step
We believe that there is no excuse for keeping donations hidden and there is no longer any technical impediment to ‘real time’ disclosure.
When we vote in federal elections we are given no information about political donations until up to 18 months later.
Even then, if donors carefully split their donations around the states, it's only disclosed if the total amount exceeds $111,600. That's a lot of 'dark money'. It undermines democracy.
Fewer and fewer Australians trust politicians
F&D believes that all political donations above a very modest amount (ie $500) should be made directly to an Electoral Fund Authority. When the donation is then transferred to the intended recipient the details would be published online. Donations made outside this system would be illegal.
We also maintain that election spending should be capped. Currently there is an “arms race” in spending and if it’s allowed to escalate we will find ourselves with a US type system where politicians “buy” themselves into power. Clive Palmer showed how it's done and if campaign spending keeps in increasing a time will come when only the extremely wealthy or well-connected will have power.
How much do you value democracy?
Politicians will not act unless under pressure.
Please help F&D apply pressure by "liking and sharing" on the F&D Facebook page
or join us as a member here
TASMANIA - a special case
Tasmania is the only state in Australia with no requirement for local government candidates to ever disclose donations or gifts, no limits on the amount donated or who can donate.
A recipe for corruption.
We’ve been hearing a lot about Local Councils in the media recently and most of this has been for the wrong reasons.
Inquiries have been conducted, Councils have been dismissed and currently the State Government is conducting a review of the Local Government Act.
One of the terms of reference of this review is: “Local Government elections – electoral rolls, funding and advertising” and one of the questions posed in the first round of submissions was “Should there be restrictions on the donations local government electoral candidates are permitted to receive? If so, what should the restrictions include?”
Approximately 81% of those that addressed this question submitted that there should be restrictions on the donations and there were a number of comments that it was not appropriate for candidates to receive donations from building developers as this could lead to a clear conflict of interest and that donations should be disclosed.
It should be noted that Tasmania is currently the only state in Australia that has no limits on how much a candidate for local government can accept in donations, no restrictions on who can make donations and no requirement whatsoever for any disclosure. This could be considered an invitation to corruption and, as such, should be addressed appropriately.
Despite this strong support for restrictions on candidate’s donations, including one from the Local Government Association, the Draft Bill does not address issues of candidate donations at all.
It takes only a few minutes to make a submission and they should be sent to should be sent HERE before 5.00 pm on the Friday 5 May 2017.
Background information is available here: Consultation feedback
Candidates can legally spend as much as they want on self-promotion in the months prior to the election.
Their spending is only limited by regulation for the few weeks prior to the actual vote.
They never, ever have to disclose to the public where any donations come from or how much they have received.