Jacqui Lambie fighting for donation law overhaul

JACQUI Lambie will launch a push to overhaul John Howard's political donation laws, saying more light needs to be shone on the "big money" influencing elections.

The Tasmanian senator wants to alter longstanding rules that allow political parties to keep secret any donations they receive below $13,800.

 

Jacqui Lambie will launch a push overhaul John Howard’s political donation laws, saying more light needs to be shone on the “big money” influencing elections. Picture: AAP/MICK TSIKAS
Jacqui Lambie will launch a push overhaul John Howard’s political donation laws, saying more light needs to be shone on the “big money” influencing elections. Picture: AAP/MICK TSIKAS

 

Just days after flagging her priority for 2020 will be to clean up Canberra, Senator Lambie will today introduce a private senator's Bill to parliament to lower the threshold for parties to disclose donations to just $2500.

It comes after the Australian Electoral Commission on Monday released political parties' financial returns for 2018-19, the period leading up to the federal election, and the Liberal Party disclosed the source of just 23 per cent of its income.

Labor disclosed the source of 5 per cent and the Greens disclosed 35 per cent in the official returns.

"When the Australian Hotels Association gives over a million dollars to both parties, and our parliamentarians let pokies ruin the lives of gambling addicts, donors make it impossible to vote for change," Senator Lambie said, writing in the Mercury today.

"When both parties take money from Crown and then join together to vote down an inquiry into allegations of corruption centring on the casino, donors make it impossible to vote for change.

"Big money is making it impossible to make big change. And it's happening in the dark … Not anymore."

Senator Lambie sent a message to Labor and the Liberals that they would need her crucial crossbench vote in the Senate this year: "And when that happens, I'll back you if you back this," she said.

Under the Bill, parties would have to disclose any donations made by a single donor that amounted cumulatively to $2500 or more over a six-month period.

It would also tighten rules around what constitutes a donation, so big donors could no longer attend fundraisers as a way of giving money.

Senator Lambie's Bill would overhaul the "other receipts" category, so parties could not hide "quasi-donations".

The Howard Government introduced the current federal donation laws in 2005, which allowed parties to only disclose donations above $10,000, with the threshold increasing every year based on CPI.

On July 1, the threshold will rise to $14,000.


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