Cheque book democracy rules – OK!

There could be even darker hidey-holes for political donations if John Howard’s gang gets its proposed electoral changes through. It will allow anonymous donations of up to $10,000. This means that each state, territory and federal branch of a political party could receive $10,000 each, totalling $90,000 all up – and all in total secrecy.

Gunns gave $70,000 to the Liberal Party, including associated entity, The Free Enterprise Institute. In 04-05 Gunns gave the Tassie Libs $50,000. NSW woodchipper Boral gave the NSW Libs and ALP $20,000 each in 03-04. The examples are endless, and these are only those that surface. Many donations are hidden behind entry fees to grand dinners like John Howards tenth anniversary party or channelled through unknown entities with ambiguous names.

An analysis of previous years’ donations shows that up to 40% of donations by political parties will be secret after the $10,000 threshold is put in place.

This is chequebook democracy. It is over twenty years since public funding was introduced to clean up politics, but it is clear that Labor and the Coalition remain receptive to big business pocket money. As Bob Brown said – just what are they getting in return?

The Greens / Jill 1.2.06

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