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Former Liberal Party Treasurer 'Soft Corruption' Claims on Political Donations, Spot On

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 3 September 2018

Tags: Political Donations, Transparency, Donation Disclosure

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens’ Leader 

Statements from former Liberal Party Federal Treasurer and NSW MP, Michael Yabsley, confirm the urgent need for political donation reform in Tasmania.*

Mr Yabsley’s reference to the ‘soft corruption’ of anonymous donors is spot on. We saw the effects on full show in the March state election.

Tasmania’s donation laws reflect the flawed Commonwealth model that enables tens of millions to flow to parties without the public knowing. ‘Soft corruption’ is exactly what our lack of state donations laws facilitate.

The recent state election, and the – no doubt – unaccounted for donations that poured into Liberal coffers will serve as a case study of exactly what that looks like.

Tasmanians, however, will have to wait up to 18 months to find out which interests were signing cheques to the Liberals – and only if they were over $13,500 a pop.

There will always be powerful forces looking to influence political decision-making. We should have tough transparency laws that stop the currently inevitable quid pro quo that flows.

If we want to clean up this scourge on democracy, we need a lower threshold and real-time donations disclosure. Tougher donation laws would help politicians remember who they are there to serve - the Tasmanian people, not the big end of town with deep pockets.

Voters should never again have to go the polls without knowing who has paid the major party pipers to play their tune.