What would a rational system for financing political parties and elections look like? It would have three facets: 1) timely disclosure of donations, to shine a light on possible graft; 2) limits on gifts to parties and candidates, to stymie wealthy interests buying favours; and 3) modest public funding tied to expenditure limits, to advance fair competition.

On those metrics, Australia scores nil out of three. We have the Australian Electoral Commission's annual "disclosure dump", about seven months after each financial year. There are no caps on the size of donations. And, following each national election, $5 per voter is given to the parties with no strings attached.