The reforms to political donations that ART would like to see
The Accountability Round Table’s starting premise is that the cost of election campaigns should be borne entirely by the State. The level of private funding from the business community for particular parties has varied according to the views held as to who is most likely to win the forthcoming election. This can be grossly advantageous to the party which is thought likely to win the election and grossly disadvantageous to all the other parties.
To effectively achieve fairness in the electoral system, limits on campaign contributions should be complemented by limitations on expenditure by or on behalf of candidates and political parties.
If private funding is to be permitted, it should be limited to membership dues and donations in all forms by natural persons totalling not more than $1,000 per person in each calendar year to each registered party and candidate.
Any such scheme must be transparent. This requires timely disclosure of donations. With modern technology, disclosure within one working day is simple and should be required. Also critical is the level at which disclosure is required. The recipient or the recipient’s agent should be required to disclose any donation or commitment over $200 and its original source. Electronic lodgement of the information and verification of it should be mandatory and facilitated. Any donations exceeding a total of $1000 in a financial year should be forfeited to the Crown