Billionaires have bought our democracy


The Greens have repeated their calls for root and branch reform of Australia’s political donations and election spending regime with billionaire Clive Palmer shamelessly bragging about his plans to spend his way to electoral success.

The Greens’ comprehensive plan to clean up politics would cap election spending, ban all political donations from sectors with a history of buying influence - including coal and gas corporations and gambling companies - and introduce a political donations cap of $1000 per year for all other donors.

Lines attributable to Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters:

“When a billionaire can pour millions of his own corporate dollars into political attack ads to try to influence an election outcome, you have a serious problem with the health of your democracy.

“Elections should be a contest of ideas, not cheque books. The UAP has already spent more than $31 million on attack advertising since August - 100 times more than Labor and the Liberals have each spent on political ads in the same period.

“Politics is broken and the political system is rigged. Under the Greens’ plan to reform political donations and electoral spending laws, billionaires like Clive Palmer would not be able to use their vast wealth to fund political campaigns - they’d be limited to $1000 a year like everyone else.

“And our 6% wealth tax on billionaires would guarantee that Clive has less money to spend on billboards and YouTube ads and we’d have more to invest in schools and hospitals.

“The Greens have been campaigning for decades to clean up our democracy. The big parties have consistently voted against our reforms because they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them.

“But in balance of power after the election the Greens will push the next government to reform election funding and spending, to clean up politics and ensure we have a parliament that acts in the interests of everyday Australians, not tycoons and corporations.”