Full response from a spokesperson for Doug Cameron

When asked for sources in relation to this FactCheck on political donations, a spokesperson for Doug Cameron said:

Senator Cameron was speaking about proposals to ban all donations not made by persons on the electoral roll. The case he referred to was Unions NSW and Others v State of New South Wales(2013) 252 CLR 530; [2013] HCA 58 (‘Unions NSW case). The case can be found here or you may wish to view the High Court of Australia’s PDF summary above). The following dot point summary may be of use in explaining how that case came about and what it means for political donations and the implied freedom of political communication:

  • When the NSW Liberal government passed Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 (NSW) (‘EFED Act’) in 2012, Unions NSW subsequently took action in the High Court of Australia to challenge the constitutional validity sections 96D and 95G(6) of EFED Act.

  • Those provisions sought to: restrict any organisation or person who was not an enrolled voter in the State from making political donations, and to aggregate the electoral communication expenditure of parties and affiliated bodies, such as unions, for the purposes of expenditure caps.

  • Unions NSW argued that donations are a form of political freedom and that the new provisions were unconstitutional because they impinged on the implied freedom of political communication in the Constitution.

  • Unions NSW’s challenge was supported by five unions, while the NSW Government was supported by all coalition state governments and the Commonwealth.

  • In a unanimous decision, the High Court found that the laws were invalid because they burdened the implied freedom of communication on governmental and political matters, as such they were therefore contrary to the Commonwealth constitution.