OUR POSITION - Political Finance & Donations

January 2016

Transparency International Australia
Heightened risk of political corruption as a result of out-of-date and inconsistent regimes for ensuring integrity in political party and election campaign funding is an issue of high public concern throughout Australia.

For example:

  • in NSW, the Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating claims that, contrary to NSW law, “certain members of parliament and others solicited and failed to disclose political donations from companies, including prohibited donors,…”
  • at the federal level, ‘mystery’ Chinese donors have been able to contribute to political parties; and
  • media reports indicate that some mining companies are more generous donors to Government than to Opposition parties in states where the company is seeking government approvals or licences, or contributions by governments to infrastructure.

In many jurisdictions disclosure of political donations is not timely, with delays in publication of party funding of up to 19 months after elections.  This means that electors cannot exercise their vote in an informed way and there are increased possibilities of skewing democracy with secret donations and vote buying.  It is of little use to the democratic process if the law allows donations to be declared many months after an election.