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Gutwein Must Commit to Donations Reform

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 14 February 2020

Tags: Political Donations, Democracy, Transparency, Electoral Reform

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

Tasmanians worried about the state of our democracy would have been even more worried after listening to Premier Peter Gutwein on ABC Radio this morning.

After the Liberals’ campaign at the last state election was bankrolled by the gambling industry, people from right across the community demanded action to clean up Tasmania’s weak donation laws. They are the weakest in the country as confirmed by ABC Fact Check during the 2018 campaign.

Instead of taking action, the Liberals have been kicking the can down the road for nearly two years.

This morning we heard more of the same from the Premier, who refused to provide any commitment, details, or timeline about donation reform.

The measures required – real time disclosure of donations, a lower disclosure threshold, a cap on election spending, bans on corporate donations – are obvious. The only barrier to them being implemented is the will of the Gutwein government.

The health of this island’s democracy should be a priority for all political parties, but instead of taking action the Liberals are trying to avoid the issue out of transparent self interest.

It’s the one thing about them that is transparent.

The ongoing and serious nature of this issue was underscored just last week, when AEC figures showed the state Liberals and Labor disclosed the source of less than 20% of their income.

It’s no coincidence that, while this is the happening, the Liberals’ agenda is fixed on looking after corporate mates like Federal Group, rather than looking after the best interests of all Tasmanians.

We’re now halfway to another election, and it is time for the government to take action. We cannot go to another state election with a system that allows dirty money to be secretly funneled from vested interests into political party coffers.

Tasmania has the weakest donation laws in the country, and our democracy and community are suffering as a result.

Peter Gutwein needs to take this issue seriously and commit to a timeline for implementing meaningful reform.