Who donated to Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie before the election that made them some of the most powerful individuals in the country?
For that matter, how much did the mining and tobacco industries give to the Liberals? How much did the unions give to Labor?
We don’t know, and may never know, due to our nonsensical election donation disclosure laws.
The earliest we will know — unless a donor reveals themselves, as Dean Mighell did to the AFR in saying the ETU donated to Bob Katter — is February next year. For donations made after 30 June, we won’t know until February 2012 — halfway to the next poll.
And even then, we’ll only find out about donations if they’re around $11,000 or over, thanks to the Howard Government’s iniquitous changes to the electoral disclosure laws. Changes the Rudd Government tried to reverse, only to be blocked by the Liberals, the Nationals and Steve Fielding, in one of the most shameful episodes of the previous Parliament.
As it stands, our Federal politicians are treating voters with contempt. There is no excuse for not moving immediately to remedy this glaring example of political self-interest.
In the interim, every party and MP should reveal a full list of their donors, at least down to the $1000 level, for both the last financial year and prior to the election.