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Electoral finance reform in NSW Parliament

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, November 18th, 2010 - 8 comments
Categories: australian politics, election funding - Tags:

The NSW Parliament has just passed passed the Election Funding and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2010.  Details are here.

It includes donations capped at $5,000 for parties and $2,000 for candidates and third parties, all donations over $1,000 declared, caps on expenditure for parties, candidates and third parties, reimbursement of election spending up to a reasonable limit, and provision of funding for policy development. Donations from developers, tobacco companies, profit-driven liquor and gambling businesses are banned.

This is the first legislation in any Australian parliament to cap political donations and electoral expenditure. The Act commences on 1 January 2011. It is the outcome of a joint standing committee established by the Government in March of this year to ‘inquire into a public funding model for political parties and candidates to apply at the State and local Government levels’. It is a strong move towards the Canadian model of political financing which is the most transparent in the Westminster countries.

Given the murky history of political contributions in New South Wales, it is a very welcome recognition of the need to remove political funding from private interest, and an endorsement of the view which I share that public funding is a small price to pay for clean government. It’s also infinitely better law than what’s waiting in the wings here.

8 comments on “Electoral finance reform in NSW Parliament”

  1. Waldo 1

    It also gives Unions the right to spend over $1million each while limiting the capicity of other 3rd party organisations to spend anything at all. It treats the Liberal Party and the National Party as one party with one spending cap (even though they are competing against each other in almost all of the rural and provincial electorates), whilst the Greens, Labour and Democratic Labour (yes, B.A Santamaria’s folk are still around) etc are all treated as seperate parties with seperate spending caps.

    It is the last, cyinical and desperate gasp of a dying Socialist Government determined to screw the playing field as far as possible to limit their defeat.

    And it all feels so eerily familiar…….

    • NickS 1.1

      [Citation Needed]

      Mind directing us towards the specific parts of the Act that do what you claim?

      And here’s the pdf file:
      http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/nswbills.nsf/131a07fa4b8a041cca256e610012de17/a552a04e447ea2b6ca2577ca001c5535/$FILE/b2010-055-d13-House.pdf

      Because a quick search of it for “union” only gives “credit unions” as a place for depositing donations, while searching for the Liberal Party or National Party gives no results, which suggests to me that they are treated as separate entities under the Act. So I’m assuming at this stage you’re full of shit.

      • Jared 1.1.1

        You are assuming the legislation explicitly refers to unions as such, you will find they aren’t actually referred to, but will come under third party campaigners i.e Schedule 1 (10)
        “(10) Third-party campaigners
        For a State general election, the applicable cap for a third-party
        campaigner is:
        (a) $1,050,000 if the third-party campaigner was registered
        under this Act before the commencement of the capped
        expenditure period for the election, or”

        • Maynard J 1.1.1.1

          So are unions the only bodies allowed to register as third party campaigners? Surely that will be in the act somewhere. Or as Nick S said, you’re full of s… (Waldo, not Jared)

        • NickS 1.1.1.2

          So what’s stopping corporations etc registering as Third Party campaigners?

          The only “negative” thing here is that it makes donations AUS$1000 and over totally transparent.

    • Zorr 1.2

      Where’s Waldo? With his head up his ass.

      Been going through that. Have yet to find anything that would warrant those claims.

  2. ianmac 2

    Since we are catching up to Australia, perhaps the NSW Reforms could be adopted by New Zealand. Presumably the Reforms would stop the formation of Trusts that hide the donations from Liquor and tobacco industries, and the Bretheran?
    How come this was passed in Australia without huge money and MSM working hard to discredit it?
    Sounds great anyway Mike.

    • grumpy 2.1

      Perhaps it could also include prohibition on unions unless ALL members agree to a donation in writing – that would be good.

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