Who is paying for political parties? House votes against transparency measures

Yesterday, the Legislative Council voted against a range of political donations transparency measures.

Hon Alison Xamon, the Greens WA spokesperson for Electoral Affairs called on the Legislative Council to support banning foreign donations, introducing real time reporting of donations and fixing the inconsistencies across jurisdictions.

“I was disappointed, but not surprised to see the major parties choose to back away from telling the public who is giving them money and when.”

Ms Xamon said that parties were free to choose the least transparent disclosure regime and often did. The Federal laws allow parties to simply not disclose any funds received that are below the threshold, regardless of the total sum of those donations.

“This means that we see wild mismatches, with companies reporting giving tens of thousands of dollars to a party, yet those donations not appearing in the party’s disclosure forms at all.”

“This is a complete failure of the political finance transparency laws.”

Ms Xamon pointed to Queensland, which has successfully implemented a seven-day reporting regime for all donations over the $1000 threshold.

“We can dramatically increase the transparency of political funding right now,” she said. “Queensland has already got it up and running.”

The Queensland and New South Wales Governments have also instituted a series of donation caps and bans, attempting to minimise the influence of corporate donations on political policy and decision making.

“Western Australians deserve to know much more about who is pumping money into the coffers of the big political parties,” she said. “It’s a shame that the House voted against giving them the chance to do that.”

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