Ask yourself this: has your bank ever given you money for free?
For most of us, it just doesn’t happen. But it does for politicians. All the time.
Take last financial year: the banks gave more than half a million dollars to the major parties combined. Are we really supposed to believe that they gave all that money out of the goodness of their hearts?
I don’t buy it, and I don’t think you do either. The banks give money because it gets results. They don’t give big to our political parties because they’re altruistic. They do it because they’re smart. Other donors in other industries are the same.
They call it a donation. In truth, it’s an investment.
I’ve got a Bill that will tighten the laws on how political donations will be disclosed to the Australian public.
If my proposal becomes law, it’ll be the biggest shake up of donations disclosures in decades. It will fix our donations laws so that you have to disclose your donations if you give over $2,500 in a six month period and disclose it in real time.
Income from fundraising dinners – where people can pay thousands for soggy chips just to see a Minister -- will finally be called what it is. A donation.
I’ve also proposed that we introduce electoral expenditure accounts for organisations that run political campaigns. It’ll force parties and others to disclose the source of any money they spend on their electoral campaigns.
80% of Australian want a federal anti-corruption watchdog, but we’re not getting one.
On any other issue with 80 per cent public support, you’d see politicians falling over themselves to get it done. For some reason when it comes to an anti-corruption watchdog, that’s not what we’re seeing. Instead the Liberals are doing the old go-slow with their watered-down integrity commission and Labor still haven’t designed their own alternative model, despite publicly endorsing a federal ICAC four years ago.
Politicians go from being a Minister to a lobbyist in the blink of an eye – and there’s nothing we can do about it.
There are dozens of examples of politicians going from politics to private business in the space of a few days. It smells like corruption when your future employer is asking you for a policy change, you make the policy change, then you’re on their books a week later. And we’re not protected against this sort of corruption in any way. Lobbyists aren’t regulated in any meaningful way. They can walk around Canberra’s offices without ever so much as signing a visitor’s book. Their meetings are never disclosed. They don’t have to disclose who they’re working on behalf of. And in fact, most of the lobbying happening today – those people don’t even need to register as lobbyists. Canberra needs a cleanup.
40% of the money buying our elections is never reported.
That’s more than $60 million in dark money flowing to our political parties that we’re never going to know about. We won’t know who’s giving it, what it’s funding, and why they’re giving it in the first place. We’ve got less transparency over the funding of our elections than the public expects and we’ve got silence from both the ALP and the Liberals as to why. Australia’s donation disclosure laws are among the weakest in the developed world – and every year we let them rot a little more.