1 Aug 2017

Australia:- How to fix political campaign finances.

Not Rocket science

Six reforms to fix the campaign finance system:-
Instant online disclosure of donations as they are received by registered political parties with the electoral commission in the relevant state being the clearing house where donations must be centrally processed and disclosed.

1. At the moment we get one annual dump of clunky Federal and state data on February 1 each year, which is already up to 19 months out of date. Right now, we’ve had no disclosure of Federal donations made over the past 13 months.

2. Spending caps on parties and candidates as occurs in Britain, so it is impossible for elections to be bought by billionaires, as so often happens in the US. Barack Obama raised almost $1 billion to win the White House in 2008.

3.Increased public funding for candidates and parties to reduce the reliance on private donations. At the moment, Federal elections generate $2.63 per vote for those who get above the four per cent threshold but the ACT Assembly has the highest level of public funding at $8 per vote.

4. Follow the US lead and restrict donations to citizens on the electoral roll. This would effectively eliminate all foreign donations, something which might just get done by the current Parliament.

5. Follow the British lead of requiring shareholder approval by large listed companies before company resources can be deployed for political purposes. This has led to a collapse in UK public company donations. Similar member approvals should also be required for union donations.

6. Require donors or third party campaign spenders to register with electoral authorities and fully disclose the scope and scale of their spending. You can see a version of that with the upcoming NSW local government elections being held on September 9 where anyone spending more than $2000 must register and
appoint an agent.

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