Political donations from corporations are a recipe for corruption

Research into the financial donations made to the Liberal and Labor parties has revealed that a massive amount of corporate donations are being received by the “Big Two” parties.

A disturbing element is the fact that some corporations donate large sums of money to BOTH of the major parties. Clearly, the corporations involved in such dealings don’t want both parties to win; one therefore has to wonder if there is more to this, whether it is about corporations buying undue influence over politicians, who are supposed to be representing the people of their electorates.

Of particular concern are the large donations being made by property developers to parties and/or individual politicians. At state government and local government levels in particular, where decisions are made that directly affect property developers (decisions which could make or break multi-million dollar deals), this clearly raises concern over conflicts of interest, let alone possible corruption.

Also of concern are those large donations whose origins are disguised by first being donated to a political foundation, which then passes that same money on to a political party, leaving the public unaware of where the money originally came from.

The fact is that the ordinary shareholders of public companies don’t expect their money to be spent upon political donations, but rather that such “spare” funds should be added to their dividends instead – then, if any of them choose to do so, they could make as many donations as they like to the political party of their own choosing. For any privately-run corporations, the board members should make their own individual political donations, if they choose to do so. Investing in the market-place is a good thing to encourage free enterprise, but does not mean that shareholders want their money spent on political parties.

The same principle applies to unions, which are also corporations (in effect, if not actually). Union members pay their hard-earned money as union dues so that their workplace rights are looked after, not so that big union bosses can take large sums of money from their funds to pay into the coffers of a political party. Any individual union members who want to donate to any political party of their choice can already do so at any time they want. Taking extra money from workers is particularly bad in those cases where unions have a virtual monoploy on collective worker representation. Union fees are high enough already, without workers having to pay what is, in effect, a compulsory political levy upon their union fees. Collective representation via union membership is a good thing to protect workers’ rights, but does not mean that union members want their money spent on political parties.

If we are serious about wanting to stop political corruption and to fight the presence of monied outside influences upon our parliaments, then it is time to pass a law banning corporate donations to politicans and political parties (including measures to combat disguised donations and bribes). Individual Australians should have the freedom to be able to donate as much as they want, but shareholders and union members should not have their money taken away from them to be spent upon politicans.

It’s time to end shady dealings and undue influence in government back corridors, and put the political process back in the hands of the Australian people.

Political donations linked to developers, contractors, The Age, 7 July 2008
Are our politicians for sale?, The Age, 23 May 2006
Mysteries remain in political donations, ABC, 2 February 2004
Developer donations: Not bribing but taxing, Crikey.com.au, 9 April 2008
Political donations revealed, The Age, 3 February 2004
Ban political donations to rebuild trust, Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), 10 July 2002
The game’s up: Premier admits rotten donations culture must end, SMH, 23 February 2008
Rudd’s new rules on donations, SMH, 4 March 2008
Political Donations WA
Analysis Of Annual Returns Receipts


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    And also -there is a direct link to APP site there!

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