Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has flown in United States President Barack Obama’s digital strategist to help with his campaign and made an American-style appeal for donations. It begs the question: just how much has money got to do with campaigning and the democratic process in Australia?
Lots. Australia is even more laissez-faire than the US when it comes to politics, the media and money. In the US, foreigners can’t donate, the disclosure threshold is $200 and corporations should only donate a little over $30,000 through an intermediary committee. In Australia, anyone (corporations and foreigners included) can donate any amount. If it’s not more than $110,000, donors can remain anonymous. In fact, they can remain anonymous no matter how much they give, so long as it’s given to an “associated entity” of a political party.