tip off

Want disclosure independents? Then tell us who donated to your campaign

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.

  • 1
    Posted Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    And if the $ value of News Ltd’s shameful bias (particularly The Australian) toward Abbott could be quantified, I have no doubt it would push Liberal donations into the stratosphere.

  • 2
    Dom Morello
    Posted Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I agree that the disclosure laws around polictical donations need to be changed.

    But your comment that the lib, nats & fielding’s blocking of the labor reversal was the most shameful episodes of the previous Parliament is a little rich. this was a concession labor provided in order to push through their adgenda on tax deductions for donations which highly favors labor.

    Labor were successful in changing the laws to make policitical donations made by organisations not tax deduction. donations are now only tax deductible for individuals. Donations can be made by comapnies, organisations etc but they are denied a tax deduction.

    This seems to be ok and fair until you think about the union movement that provides millions of dollars to the labor party. Unions are not for profits and therefore tax exempt. they dont need a tax deduction as they dont pay tax.

  • 3
    Posted Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    In 2006 the Coalition changed the disclosure threshold from $1500 to $$10,00 (currently $11,200). I remember being incensed at the time by the media vacuum in reporting this hugely corrupting influence on our democracy. I had expected front page headlines but there was nothing not even on the ABC news (it was mentioned in the 7:30 Report). The fourth estate has really let our democracy down - at least Crikey is making it a headline. Did anyone notice Malcolm Frazer’s critique of News Ltd on Q & A last night? I wonder if his words would have been reported if the program had not been ‘live and interactive’. Tony Abbott does not have to try very hard when he has News Ltd and the big miners behind him. When is somebody in the media going to ask Tony Abbott what was discussed in ‘that’ meeting he had with Rupert.

  • 4
    Holden Back
    Posted Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Outrageous that if Gina and Twiggy and Clive want a tax deduction for a donation made to a political party to protect their commercial interests they’d have to use their own personal money! And that if a company wanted to reduce their tax bill by making a generous donation to the political party of their choice, it would be against the rules!

    Sarcasm Alert.