Liberal Party rejection of real-time reporting of political donations a 'joke'

23 Jul 2020

Posted December 02, 2019

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is introducing a Private Member’s Bill this morning that seeks to place all political donations of $1,000 or more on the public record.

The Centre Alliance MP’s Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering the Donation Disclosure Threshold) Bill 2019, if adopted, would set the donation disclosure threshold at $1,000 with no indexation. The current disclosure threshold is $13,800 and the law allows for indexation.

“This legislation would complement another Private Member’s Bill I introduced back in September to make political parties and campaigners disclose donations in real-time, within five business days rather than the current notification deadline of 18-months,” Rebekha said.

“Both pieces of legislation are aimed squarely at 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.”

Rebekha's Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Real-Time Disclosure of Political Donations) Bill 2019 was referred a few months ago to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. Public submissions for the inquiry closed at the end of October and the Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing in the New Year.

“Although the Liberal Party was a notable exception, most of the other 15 public submissions to the inquiry had no problem with real-time disclosure, whether their preference was five days through to 21 days, and a number of submissions also called for the political donation threshold to be reduced to $1,000," Rebekha said.

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