The Greens agree that Victoria lacks appropriate mechanisms for ensuring that funding of political parties does not lead to anti-democratic outcomes and undue influence by donors. Because Victoria defaults to the inadequate Commonwealth system of donation disclosures, there is a lack of transparency as to donations made to political parties and other candidates at federal and state elections.
Other states have introduced restrictions on donations and election spending in an effort to overcome the inadequacies of the Commonwealth system. Therefore, an inquiry into the political funding in Victoria of parties, members of parliament and candidates would be a good thing.
The Greens will:
- pledge to not accept donations from property developers and ask the other parties to do the same; and
- hold an inquiry into the funding of political parties to clean up Victorian politics to look at:
- a cap on donations; and
- bring in real time disclosure of donations over $1,000.
The Greens have raised the serious issue of political donations many times in state parliament - in relation to the conflict of interest that arises when governments are involved in deciding planning matters involving developers that have made donations to their respective parties and in relation to the difficulty of bringing in public health and other measures that are opposed by organisations that are large donors to political parties.
In November 2009, Sue Pennicuik MP moved a motion that, “This house calls on the state and federal governments to reform laws relating to political donations, with the aim of banning donations from entities such as unions and corporations, and limiting the size of donations from individuals.”
In 14 April 2010, Sue Pennicuik moved a motion that, “This house calls on the Australian Labor Party and Liberal-National party coalition refrain from accepting political donations from property developers for the remainder of the 2010.” This motion followed legislation in Queensland and in particular in NSW at that time which made it illegal to either offer or accept a donation from a property developer. This was brought about by ongoing scandals and public disquiet about political donations, particularly from property developers at that time, and the influence they have on political parties, and the indirect influence they can have on government.
In May 2014, Sue Pennicuik moved a similar motion that, “This house calls on the Liberal, The Nationals and the Australian Labor Party to refrain from accepting political donations from property developers and organisations that are regulated by government or may be affected by government decisions; and government to introduce legislation to limit political donations to, and expenditure by, political parties and candidates.”
Debate on this motion was not concluded.