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In a Worrying Sign, Premier Confesses He Can’t Walk and Chew Gum on Donations Reform

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Tags: Political Donations, Democracy, Transparency

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

On the International Day of Democracy, Premier Peter Gutwein dismissed public concerns about the need for political donations law reform in Parliament today. 

Instead of committing to cleaning up Tasmania’s broken donations framework, the Premier told Parliament he was wholly focussed on the pandemic response.

In the last sitting, Parliament passed contentious Major Projects Legislation.  Today, there are four Bills on the order of business – none of which are COVID related.

Tasmanians will be worried if they think their Premier can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

Transparency and accountability are key to a healthy democracy. 

Tasmania’s political donations framework is the weakest in the nation. The case was well and truly made for reform at the last State Election, when millions of dollars in donations went undisclosed

The report of the deliberately narrow review in to Tasmania’s political donations laws has been sitting on the Attorney General’s desk since last December. Why is it gathering dust? 

When we asked Premier Gutwein when the report will it be made public, and whether he intended to strengthening Tasmania’s political donation laws, he said he ‘hadn’t turned his mind to it.’

The Attorney has had the report for nine months – well before COVID-19 hit our island state. There is no reason the Gutwein Government cannot release the report and get on with fixing our broken donations laws. 

Tasmanians deserve to know who is writing cheques, and why, before they cast their vote on election day.  Peter Gutwein must prioritise electoral reforms ahead of the next State Election in the interests of democracy.