Local government is an important part of our democratic system. It is the level of government that is closest to us and that delivers many of the basic services on which communities rely. It is also the level at which many decisions about property developments are made.
Local council decision making can be corrupted by political donations. At a local government level a donation does not have to be large to have a significant impact on a candidate’s or party’s election campaign budget. Whereas the major parties will spend millions on their state and federal election campaigns at a local council level campaign costs are usually measured in thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, so a much smaller donation can have a much bigger effect at local council level.
In NSW the evidence that emerged from the ICAC inquiries into Wollongong, Tweed and Liverpool Councils made it clear that corruption does exist in some local councils; that corrupt developers are using bribes and “donations” to corrupt those who are making decisions about their developments.
That's why the Democracy4sale project is committed to making public who is making donations to which candidates and parties.
In 2008 D4S undertook to help voters check out the donations made to their local Councillors and candidates before the vote by publishing the donations made to Councillors in the lead up to the 2004 NSW Council election.
Read the initial Greens' analysis of the 2008 Local Government election donations.