Tonight’s Four Corners “Money and Influence” program will include a report on the Greens’ investigations into political donations.
Senator Lee Rhiannon’s office has commenced research into discrepancies in political donations as part of their Democracy for Sale project. The study reveals that about $8 million made in payments from donors to the major political parties were declared as donations by those donors, but the Liberal, National and Labor parties who received the payments did not declare them as donations.
After news today that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull lunched with a Mafia associate involved in fundraising for the Liberals, Senator Rhiannon has also written to the Australian Federal Police to request that they investigate these claims.
Tomorrow the Australian Greens will launch their political donations reform initiative.
Senator Lee Rhiannon is available for comment tonight.
Greens spokesperson for democracy Senator Lee Rhiannon said:
“After extensive research my office has found that around $8 million in payments from companies to the major political parties were not declared as ‘donations’. This is extraordinary.
“The current $12, 800 disclosure threshold allows many big donors and political parties to avoid scrutiny. In theory a donor could donate nearly $1.9 million to a political party and its candidates, spreading the money evenly around, without anyone having to declare anything.
“Fossil fuel companies have donated millions of dollars to political parties in the past few years. Meanwhile, billions of dollars in wasteful government subsidies continue to flow to the fossil fuel industry as clean emerging industries remain hamstrung by a lack of support.
“Our current system for disclosing political donations makes a mockery of democracy. Disclosure requirements are too slow and the process is notoriously corruptible. It needs urgent reform.
“The Greens have two bills before parliament to reform our political donations system, as well as legislation for a national corruption watchdog to help clean up politics,” Senator Rhiannon said.
Media contact: Freya Newman 0411 669 022