Reforming Political Donations | Australian Greens

Reforming Political Donations

The corrupting influence of political should not be underestimated.

Legislation to ban political donations from industries perceived as having an inappropriate influence on decision makers is urgently needed to restore democracy and public confidence in politicians. 

An Australian Greens bill which will ban political donations from property developers, mining companies and the alcohol, tobacco and gambling industries is already before parliament. 

Now we need your support to get it passed. 

Australians have a right to feel confident their elected representatives are looking after the public interest, not industries that make political donations.  

This legislation will also bring consistency to electoral funding laws across the country.

Add your voice to our call to clean up politics.

We need urgent reform of Australia's political donations system.

Parliament should serve the best interests of all Australians. When those with money and wealth can buy political influence through donations then democracy is damaged.

The Greens want:

  • A ban on for-profit donations, especially from corrupting industries like fossil fuels
  • Increased transparency
  • Real-time online disclosure

Large donors now have privileged access to ministers and MPs, and major decisions are made to benefit polluters, property developers, and big business. Around the country, from ICAC's corruption revelations in NSW to the gutting of climate change policy which lets big polluters off the hook, we can see the impact of big business donations.

Democracy4Sale Project

In light of inadequate laws around political donations, we have created an online project called Democracy4Sale. This website allows users to look through collated donations data from the AEC in a clear and searchable format. 

Donations can be analysed by party, donor, time or industry.

Part of the Greens’ work on this project was featured on a Four Corners episode about political donations in May 2016.

Democracy4Sale is regularly tracking donations data and making discoveries. Stay up to date with the project here. 

Banning toxic donations

The Greens propose to ban political donations from specific industries, including:

  • property developers
  • tobacco industry business entities
  • liquor business entities
  • gambling industry business entities
  • mineral resources or mining industry business entities
  • industry representative organisations whose majority members are those listed above

These industries have all made large donations to political parties and there is strong evidence that such donations influence government policies that affect those industries.

We see it in overdevelopment, and in the tax breaks and subsidies we give miners.

We can see it in government decisions to advance the interests of big miners over local communities in Maules Creek, Gloucester, and the Liverpool Plains.

And we can see it in the $61 million that the likes of Westfield, Meriton, and other property developers have poured into Labor and the Coalition.

Prohibiting these industries from making political donations would be an important step in combating the corrupting influence of political donations.

Disclosure and transparency

Currently, only political donations over $12,800 must be declared. This high threshold means a donor could potentially donate almost $1.9 million to a political party and its candidates without ever being identified in AEC disclosures. This is possible if the donor spreads donations around candidates and each amount was under the threshold.

The Greens aim to amend existing laws to:

  • Ensure that all political donations above $1,000 are disclosed.
  • Require donors who donate more than $1,000 to disclose their occupation
  • Adopt a mandatory electronic disclosure system, which allows for online, real-time reporting by political parties, candidates, groups, members of parliament, associated entities of parties  and third-party campaigners in the lead-up to an election.