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Donations Reform 'Review' a Cop Out

3 May 2018

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

The beneficiary of Tasmania's weak donations' disclosure regime at the last election, the Premier, Will Hodgman, has announced a year-long review into electoral reforms.  This is the political equivalent of looking like you are taking action when, in fact, you are stalling.

This has all the hallmarks of an attempt to appear to be responding to concerns about the flagrant corporate influence via cash and in kind donations to the Liberals before 3 March.

The top end of town has always dug deep for the Liberals.  There's little chance the Liberals want to cut off that line of quid pro quo credit before the next election.

Political donations from corporations and vested interests buy influence, pure and simple.  The gambling industry's donations to the Liberals before the last election were not acts of charity, they were a successful attempt to buy an election and a potential $250 million windfall to the industry.

If the Premier wants to be taken seriously on donations reform and strengthening our democracy, the steps to take are quite straightforward.

This is not rocket science, other jurisdictions offer effective, proven templates for reforms.

Tasmania needs real time donations' disclosure, a ban on corporate and foreign donations, a cap on election spending by parties and candidates.  This would ensure elections become a contest of ideas, uncorrupted by vested interests.

It’s time to for Hodgman to act, not put on an act.