The Tasmanian Greens today have called for a state-based political donations scheme to be in place by the next election, in light of the millions donated to the Liberal and Labor parties in 2010-2011 by vested interests, revealed by the Australian Electoral Commission’s latest political donations figures,
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said Tasmania is one of the few remaining states which doesn’t have separate state-based political donations disclosure laws, and that Labor is dragging its feet on taking promised action.
Mr McKim also challenged Liberal Leader Will Hodgman MP to return any donations received by Big Tobacco if he is genuine about reassuring Tasmanians that such donations do not influence Liberal policy.
“Tasmania deserves the best quality democracy the state can provide but Tasmania’s voters remain in the dark about who is giving how much to which political party,” Mr McKim said.
“The Greens are determined to ensure that by the next state election Tasmanians will know who has donated what to whom by the time they go to the ballot box.”
“Under the federal laws, only donations of $11, 500 or above need to be disclosed, which means there may be many more donations the public are never informed of, and due to the time lag in reporting it can sometimes be up to 18 months before the donations received are disclosed publicly.”
“Other states and the ACT have moved on their own political donations schemes rather than just rely on the federal requirements which are the only ones that apply to Tasmania.”
“In 2008, then-Premier Paul Lennon supported the Greens’ political donations reform and agreed to refer the issue to the Working Arraignments of Parliament Committee. Nothing happened.”
“In 2009, then-Premier David Bartlett published his 10-point democracy plan which included political donations reform, and said he would release a public discussion paper. Nothing happened.”
“In 2011, current Attorney-General, Brian Wightman, said, during the Greens’ debate on banning political donations by Big Tobacco, that he would issue Bartlett’s public discussion paper. Nothing happened.”
“Political donations can be capped in the stroke of a pen and real-time political donations can be revealed in the click of a mouse. These reforms are straightforward and low-cost.”
“Tasmania risks looking a pariah, with the majority of the states taking action on this issue. Labor must release its discussion paper and start the reform of political donations in Tasmania before the next election. Tasmanian voters have been left in the dark long enough,” said Mr McKim.