Senate debates

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Donations to Political Parties

3:48 pm

Photo of Lee RhiannonLee Rhiannon (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) former Newcastle Lord Mayor and developer, Mr Jeff McCloy, lost his High Court case to overturn a New South Wales law banning developers from making political donations,

(ii) in its finding on the case, the High Court identified a more subtle kind of corruption known as clientelism, which is where officeholders will decide issues not on the merits or the desires of their constituencies, but according to the wishes of those who have made large financial contributions valued by the officeholder,

(iii) the High Court also stated that the particular concern is that reliance by political candidates on private patronage may, over time, become so necessary as to sap the vitality, as well as the integrity, of the political branches of government, and

(iv) in dealing with solutions, the High Court found that, unlike straight cash-for-votes transactions, such corruption is neither easily detected nor practical to criminalise, and the best means of prevention is to identify and to remove the temptation; and

(b) calls on the Government:

(i) to ban political donations to parties and candidates from for-profit corporations, and

(ii) to establish an independent agency, similar to the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption, which works to expose corruption and enhance integrity at the federal level.


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