Annual political donations data will be revealed tomorrow and is likely to confirm that our democracy is still for sale to the highest bidder. It’s long past time to reform political donations laws, and the Greens are committed to pushing Labor to get it done.
Late last year, Senator Larissa Waters re-introduced a bill to ban donations from coal and gas corporations and other sectors with a track record of buying influence, and cap all other political donations at $1,000 per year. Both the major parties accept huge sums of money from big industries, and their policies show it.
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 deputy leader and spokesperson on democracy Senator Larissa Waters
“On 1 February we will learn just how much big money is spending to buy influence with political parties and buy our democracy. With Greens in the balance of power, we have the opportunity to remove the influence of big money from politics once and for all.
“Even before this year’s release, we know that over $230M in corporate donations have been made to Labor and the Coalition parties since 2012 - it's our democracy for sale!
“Like every year before, tomorrow’s data will confirm it is long past time to reform the system and end the legalised bribery that sees big polluters buying policy outcomes.
“Coal, gas and oil corporations don’t donate millions every year to the Liberals, Nationals and Labor because they’re huge fans of democracy – they do it because it gets results. Let’s call this what it is: legalised bribery.
“The influence of dirty donations on government decisions is why Australia has waited so long for stronger environmental protections and real action on climate change. It’s why reforms to hold the financial sector to account keep stalling. It’s why governments continue to spend millions on consultants at the expense of the public service.
“The Greens have legislation to cap political donations to $1,000 per year no matter who the donor, and to ban donations from dirty industries with a track record of seeking to buy policy outcomes, including the fossil fuel sector.
“It is also long past time we cracked the window open with real time disclosures, lower disclosure thresholds, broader definitions, and better data. We currently wait 18 months for an indecipherable data dump about less than half of all donations made to political parties.
“Voters should have information about who’s influencing their representatives when they are deciding who to vote for.
“We welcomed the recent commitment from NSW Labor to ban donations from the gambling sector. The Greens will continue to use our balance of power in the Senate to push Federal Labor to ban all political donations from influential industries, including the fossil fuel sector, gambling, banking, defence, and pharmaceuticals.
“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.”
The Greens are working for:
- Real time disclosure of all donations of $1,000
- A ban all political donations from the fossil fuel sector (and other dirty industries) and cap all other donations at $1,000 per year
- Definitions of “donation” that include membership fees, loans, and tickets to fundraising and cash-for-access events
- Preventing resource ministers and advisers from working for the fossil fuel industry within five years of leaving parliament
- Publishing a register of meetings between ministers and lobbyists (including in-house lobbyists currently excluded from the Lobbying Code of Conduct)
The Greens plan to clean up democracy also includes:
- Election spending caps
- Strengthening the Register of Interests and FOI laws
- Truth in advertising rules to prevent disinformation from undermining public debate
- Increasing the diversity of political representation so that parliament better reflects our community
More info on The Greens policy plan here.