Monday, 12 November 2018
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) disclosure of donations made to political parties is only made public by the Australian Electoral Commission once a year, on 1 February, for the preceding financial year,
(ii) there is up to an 18 month delay between when a donation is made and when it is publicly disclosed, and at minimum a 7 month delay,
(iii) since 2012, the major parties have received approximately $100 million in donations from corporate entities,
(iv) the voters in the electorates of Braddon, Fremantle, Longman, Mayo and Perth will have to wait until 1 February 2020, some 18 months after the by-election date, before they know who funded those campaigns,
(v) the voters in the electorate of Wentworth will have to wait almost 16 months before they know who funded political parties' by-election campaigns, and
(vi) under current legislation for federal elections, voters go to the ballot box without any information about how their local candidates and political parties have funded their campaigns – the identity of donors or amounts donated; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to require all donations of $1000 and above to be disclosed in close to real-time on an easy-to-search public website, to ensure voters have access to information about who is bank-rolling political campaigns before they vote.
The opposition will be supporting this motion. It has been Labor's long-held policy that the federal disclosure threshold be lowered. It was a Labor government that originally lowered the disclosure threshold to allow Australians to see who was funding election campaigns. It was the coalition who reversed it, reducing transparency and seeing the threshold blow out to its current figure of $13,800. Labor believes in transparency throughout our political system and is the only party who can form government and work with the Australian Electoral Commission to deliver it.