Electoral committee to review $1,000 political donation threshold bill

Electoral committee to review $1,000 political donation threshold bill

A Private Member’s Bill introduced by Rebekha Sharkie MP that seeks to place all political donations of $1,000 or more on the public record has been referred to a parliamentary committee for review.

The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering the Donation Disclosure Threshold) Bill 2019 was introduced by the Federal Member for Mayo in December last year and aims to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act to lower the political donation disclosure threshold from $13,800 to $1,000, and to remove ongoing indexation of that disclosure threshold.

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters announced the review this week, issuing an invitation to the public for written submissions.

“I welcome the decision to refer my Private Member’s Bill to the Electoral  Matters Committee for consideration," Rebekha said.

“It’s another step forward towards improving political transparency and accountability in an era when Australians’ trust in their democratic institutions is at an all-time low.

“Individuals and groups have the right to support political candidates but voters should be able to find out in a timely manner exactly who is funding political candidates and how much.

“I maintain that if you’re donating $10, $100 or $1,000 you’re a supporter. Anything more than $10,000 then a donor leaves themselves open to the suggestion they might want something in return.

“Victoria, NSW and Queensland have $1,000 political donation thresholds so I see no reason why the Commonwealth should be any different."

The legislation complements another Private Member’s Bill Rebekha introduced back in September 2019 to make political parties and campaigners disclose donations in real-time, within five business days rather than the current notification deadline of 18-months.

The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Real-Time Disclosure of Political Donations) Bill 2019 was also reviewed by the Committee with a report issued in late December 2019.

Submissions into the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering the Donation Disclosure Threshold) Bill 2019 close on 6 March 2020.