Senate debates

Tuesday, 12 February 2019


Donations to Political Parties

5:37 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  (i) trust in Australian democracy has halved in the last decade, with fewer than 41% of Australian citizens reporting a sense of satisfaction with the way democracy works, down from 86% in 2007, according to research from the Museum of Australian Democracy and the University of Canberra published today,

  (ii) women are generally less satisfied with democracy and more distrusting of politicians and political institutions – those most critical of the current state of our democracy are women in their forties who are struggling on less than $50,000 a year,

  (iii) people most likely to feel satisfied with the status quo include those aged 55 and over, and those earning more than $200,000 a year,

  (iv) the three main grievances electors have with Australia's democratic system are politicians not being accountable for broken promises; politicians not dealing with the issues that really matter; and big business having too much power,

  (v) plummeting levels of trust in politics-as-usual is prompting young people to mobilise in unprecedented numbers, with thousands of schoolchildren protesting the Government's lack of long-term policies for climate justice over the last week, across all Australian capitals, and

  (vi) younger voters are concerned that their vote does not count because of the overwhelming influence of political donations, which result in more and more people being denied necessary resources and basic human rights; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to:

  (i) ban corporate donations from vested interests that seek to influence government policy,

  (ii) cap all other donations to political parties to $1000 per year, and

  (iii) take measures to increase the participation of women and people from minority backgrounds in Australia's political system.

Photo of Anthony ChisholmAnthony Chisholm (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Anthony ChisholmAnthony Chisholm (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Labor will not be supporting this motion. This is yet again more hypocritical posturing from the Greens, instead of genuine electoral reform. The Greens are yet to explain why they were happy to take $1.6 million from a single corporate donor and accept half a million dollars from a professional gambler, who is being investigated for tax fraud. Labor has a clear policy to improve transparency in politics and help restore faith in our democracy. It was Labor that worked with our charities and not-for-profits to ensure advocacy work was protected and foreign donations were banned from domestic elections. It will continue to be Labor that pursues genuine electoral reform in the public interest.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that motion No. 1345 be agreed to.