The annual February festival of lampooning the largest visible donor lulls Australians into a false sense of security that there is a functioning political donations disclosure regime in place.
If the government is serious about restoring faith in our politics and politicians, there’s much more to be done beyond banning foreign donations.
Australia’s political donations system remains fragmented, but proposed reforms in Victoria are a good step forward.
If we ban all donations from individuals and corporations, funding for political campaigns must come from elsewhere.
The rationale for banning foreign donations is to stop the threat of overseas interests undermining 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.
Check out our interactives showing the total donations to Australia’s major parties in 2015-16, who the biggest donors to the parties were, and how donations to parties have changed in recent years.
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.
Every reform politicians suggest for Australia’s political donations regime needs to be motivated solely by the desire to enhance the public interest.
The pernicious influence of money on politics is a problem of political donations more generally, not just from foreign donors.
What is meant by a ‘foreign’ political donation? And why should such donations be better regulated?
There are a few necessary ingredients for the effective regulation of any political donations system.
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.
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 political finance system is corrupt – but not because of bribery, or indeed any substantial quid pro quo.
Every time there’s a scandal involving political finance, politicians from unaffected parties talk about the public’s outrage. But how much do people actually care?
Who are the major donors to Australia’s big political parties? And what are the rules around disclosure at state and federal level?
The struggle for political equality has shaped Australian democracy. This is undermined by a fragmented political donations system that can be easily evaded.
Bringing you up to speed on the political hot potato that may have passed you by.
Friday’s COAG meeting is a perfect opportunity for politicians to govern in the public interest: and that should start with reforming political donations.