Is the prospect of fair and translucent political donation laws a pipe-dream? Crikey readers seemed to think so, responding to Amber Schultz’s rundown of the legal loopholes unscrupulous donors can jump through to gain influence with politicians. Elsewhere, readers discussed land rights in light of recent events at Uluru, and had some thoughts on ways to repair the financial system.
Jim Feehely writes: Political donations legislation suffers from the same problem as the establishment of effective anti-corruption commissions. Both require politicians to agree to limits on themselves and their parties. So I am not holding my breath waiting for reform. Inevitably there will be a Commonwealth anti-corruption commission, but not until this inherently corrupt government is defeated. Once a commission starts work, the need for reform of political funding will become self-evident, even to the self-interested. But leaving aside that considerable political obstruction, what is needed is the following: state funded election campaigns and elections with funding determined post-election on the basis of votes cast; real-time disclosure of all revenue, donations, membership fees, investment revenue, function revenue etc, including the identity of the source of every source of revenue; and public disclosure of the membership and finances of all political organisations — e.g. unions, industry bodies, GetUp etc (only GetUp does this now). It may be slightly Utopian. But we must be allowed to dream to relieve the pain of this current dystopia.
Bruce Graham writes: Micheal Bradley writes well, and he had me with him all the way until this line: “We have no difficulty in recognizing the right — legal and ethical — of a person who bought waterfront land to not allow us to walk on their patch of beach.” I have always preferred the New Zealand attitude to the space between the high and low water marks, and there are a lot of places in Australia where access to national parks is restricted by dubious and arguable (white European) private property access claims. The effective result being that significant sections of some national parks are de facto private parks. Arguments about the conflict between public access and property rights are fair game. Perhaps the point could be made that the opponents of Indigenous land control rights seem less concerned by equivalent non-Indigenous behaviours.
Edward Zakrzewski writes: How to fix the financial sector — hefty personal fines and lengthy jail sentences.
Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name if you would like to be considered for publication.