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Malcolm Turnbull’s donation of $1.75 million to the Liberal Party is the largest single donation in Australian political history. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Turnbull’s $1.75 million donation is bad news for Australian democracy

The struggle for political equality has shaped Australian democracy. But it’s undermined by having a political donations system that benefits the rich at the expense of other Australians.
Malcolm Turnbull’s rumoured personal donation to the Liberal Party was not disclosed as part of the AEC’s donation disclosures for 2015-16. AAP/Lukas Coch

Why, only now, are we finding out who the biggest donors in an election year were?

Disclosures add to transparency. They allow us to follow the money and scrutinise who has made large donations. But mere disclosure does not remedy the inequity in Australia’s current system.
Queensland independent Peter Wellington backed Annastacia Palaszczuk (left) to form government after she promised to act on political donations. Dan Peled/AAP

Queenslanders will soon see in real-time who’s paying politicians – now Canberra must act

At long last, Australia has a government that is prepared to introduce real-time disclosure for political donations – a crucial change that lets voters make an informed choice at the ballot box.
Politicians often argue lobbying is going to happen anyway, so there’s little harm in demanding donations from those seeking their time. Shutterstock

What do businesses get in return for their political donations?

Our political donations disclosure regime is so opaque, we don’t really know who's paying how much and what they get in return. But the lengths players go to hide donations gives cause for suspicion.
Australia’s two major political parties are highly dependent on contributions from business by the standards of other rich democracies. AAP/Lukas Coch

No bribes please, we’re corrupt Australians!

Australia’s political finance system is corrupt – but not because of bribery, or indeed any substantial quid pro quo.

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