New year, same political donors and weak laws


Political donations data published today by the Australian Electoral Commission shows that while the government may have changed at the last election, donor influence and our dodgy donation laws remain the same. 

Both the big parties accept huge sums of money from dirty industries with a track record of trying to buy favourable policy outcomes. February 1st is the one time of the year we get to find out just how much these powerful industries are paying for their influence over the government.

Lines attributable to Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters

“Different government, same political donors running the show. Democracy is still for sale.

“Today’s data once again shows that money talks, with more than $12 million in donations pocketed by the big political parties in the last financial year. 

“Fossil fuel companies and their lobbyists are still donating to both big parties, and in return the Albanese government continues the bipartisan tradition of giving $10 billion of public money every year in fossil fuel subsidies, turbo charging climate destruction.

“Big money from property developers, the banks, the big four consultants and grocery giants  might explain why there is so little reform to help ordinary people with the cost of living crisis.

“The Greens will continue to push for a ban on donations from industries seeking to influence government policy - like coal and gas, the banks, big pharma, the pokies and alcohol lobby, tobacco, and weapons manufacturers. 

“We’ve had to wait a whole year, and today’s data only shows the tip of the iceberg. More than a third of all donations fall below the $14,500 disclosure threshold, and many ‘membership fees’ and cash-for-access event fees are not classed as donations so they stay hidden from public view.

“Where are the reforms the government promised for more transparency and real-time disclosure?

“Labor’s promises for electoral reform to deal with misinformation, dark money, and improve transparency, are all hollow while we see no proposed reforms, and hear rumours they are stitching up rules with the Liberal party which would prop up the flagging two party system.

“Propping up the dying two party system is not electoral reform, it’s a rort.

“All year Labor has used the JSCEM process as an excuse for rejecting Greens and crossbench private members' bills for electoral reform on topics like truth in political advertising, donation reform and transparency, and jamming the revolving door that sees pollies - including our finally retiring ex-PM - walk out of parliament house and straight into a cushy lobbying gig.

“And yet here we are again on 1 February getting our annual donation data dump, and there’s still zero detail on how they plan to work with the parliament to deliver improved transparency and integrity to our elections. 

“The Greens have been campaigning for decades to clean up our democracy. It’s time for Labor to come to the table and work with us to ensure politicians work in the public interest, not the interest of their donor mates.”