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Banning foreign donations is not enough

By February 27, 2017June 1st, 2017SMOS

Reports today the Government will accept Labor’s proposal to ban foreign donations is a belated step in the right direction, but does not go anywhere near far enough.

Banning all foreign donations has been Labor policy for years. But we also want to see significant improvements in the transparency of the system.

Four months ago, I introduced legislation to the Parliament to deliver Labor’s plan for political donation reform. Bill Shorten introduced the same legislation in the House of Representatives earlier this month.

I understand the Prime Minister is sensitive when it comes to donation reform, given the fact he kept his $1.75 million donation to the Liberal Party secret.  But it’s time he put the national interest ahead of his own interests.

Malcolm Turnbull needs to stop crawling towards Labor’s position one small step at a time and get on with it.

Labor’s reforms will:

  • Ban foreign donations;
  • Reduce the donation disclosure limit from $13,200 (indexed to inflation) to a fixed $1000;
  • Ban ‘donation splitting’ between political party branches and associated entities to avoid disclosure obligations;
  • Ban the receipt of anonymous donations above $50;
  • Link public funding to campaign expenditure;
  • Introduce new offences and increased penalties for abuses of the political donation disclosure regime.

The Prime Minister should show some integrity and back our plan in its entirety to deliver a transparent and accountable political donations system for all Australians.