Additional Comments - Australian Labor Party

Labor's record on political donations reform has a long history.
It was Labor, under Prime Minister Bob Hawke in 1983, that first introduced a political donations disclosure regime, where donations above $1000 had to be declared. It was a Liberal Government who later increased this to $10 000 and linked the threshold to inflation, causing it to blow out to the current $14 300.
It was Labor's amendments that successfully linked public election funding to campaign expenditure, preventing parties from profiting from the electoral system.
And it was Labor that forced the Liberal/National Government to ban foreign political donations, protecting our democracy from foreign interference.
Labor will continue to pursue political donations reform. Our plan is focused on transparency and accountability. Voters deserve to know who is donating to political parties, how much and when. Labor's bills which are currently before the Senate would lower the disclosure threshold from the current $14 300 to a fixed $1000 and require donations to be disclosed within seven days. This will mean that voters have this information when they go to cast their ballot and not have to wait up to 19 months to find out who is funding political parties as they do at present.
Full disclosure and transparency, rather than industry specific bans, is what will safeguard our democratic institutions from undue influence.
Any proposals for donations and/or expenditure caps will need to be considered alongside increased resources for the Australian Electoral Commission, so it has the capacity to monitor compliance, as well as increased public funding for candidates and parties.
A strong, independent Australian Electoral Commission, and a completely transparent donations regime are the best defences against the erosion of our democracy.
Senator Tim Ayres
Deputy Chair

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