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Major Parties Cash in on Secret Millions

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 3 February 2020

Tags: Democracy, Political Donations, Transparency, Electoral Reform

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

Two years after the gambling industry bankrolled the Tasmanian Liberals’ election win, today’s Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) annual donations returns reveal vested interests are still pouring funds in to the Liberal and Labor parties with very little transparency.

More than $4.6 million was donated to the Labor and Liberal parties in 2018-19, but the source of more than $3.7 million of that figure remains unknown to voters.

The Liberals concealed the source of more than $2.5 million in donations, while Labor hid the donation source for $1.1 million in its coffers.

All up, we only know who the donor was for less than 19 cents of every dollar donated to the Tasmanian Labor and Liberal parties.

These secret donations show how both the Liberal and Labor parties are deliberately exploiting the weakness of our current disclosure laws for their own benefit.

The major parties are more worried about looking after vested interests that bankroll them than they are about looking after Tasmanians. They are using a veil of secrecy to deflect scrutiny and avoid accountability.

We must address the issue of money in politics as a matter of priority. We need to limit donations and expenditure, institute a real time disclosure system, and work towards publicly funded elections.

If the Labor and Liberal parties are serious about transparency they should also match the Greens by releasing all donors who gave more than $1500 across 2018-19.

Our political system is being undermined by the toxic influence of secret money. The major parties are being corrupted by vested interests, and refuse to be held accountable. We need reform, and we need it now.

The long promised review and reform of the weakest donations disclosure laws in the country is taking far too long.

Parliament needs to see new legislation to clean up Tasmania’s democracy in the first half of this year.