Political funding in Australia is governed by different rules for state (some of which do not require disclosure) and federal governments. And both levels suffer significant weaknesses.
Unlike similar democracies, Australia neither limits political donations nor campaign expenditure by political parties at the federal level.
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.