House debates

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Statements by Members

Donations to Political Parties

1:30 pm

Photo of Justine ElliotJustine Elliot (Richmond, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I recently met with local GetUp! members regarding their very legitimate concerns about the Turnbull government's proposed actions about donation legislation affecting charities and advocacy groups. The proposal by the government seeks to deny legitimate organisations, such as GetUp!, the right to contribute to the political landscape. It's also clear that many charitable and not-for-profit organisations will be prevented from advocating for a fairer and just Australia if the government persists with this action in this form. It's an outcome that would ultimately be bad for democracy and it has the capacity to silence legitimate political debate in this country.

In my electorate of Richmond there are over 11,000 registered GetUp! members joining hundreds of thousands more across Australia. These people seek to engage Australians in the democratic process by giving them a voice on important issues. Members of these groups also want to show their support by making legitimate donations to these organisations, and the government's legislation would impose exacting compliance regimes on those organisations and the charity sector, making it difficult for people to provide the financial support needed to engage in the political debate.

Labor's committed to reforming the political donation system to ensure our democracy is protected from improper influence from overseas. We're proud of continuously fighting for improved transparency and much greater accountability in Australia's political donation system. However, we are concerned the government has overreached with the legislation as it is in its current form. We want to find a sensible way to ban foreign donations without selling out charitable organisations that do incredibly important work right throughout our community.

I'd like to conclude by thanking those GetUp! members in my electorate for taking the time to meet with me and sharing their concerns. I encourage them to keep up the great work they do— (Time expired)