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Let the sun shine on secret party donations

Let the sun shine on secret party donations

Green Media Release August 31, 2007

The Green Party is calling on the Government to introduce further changes to the Electoral Finance Bill to stop large anonymous donations and donations from secret trusts to political parties. This is in light of leaks this morning that the Government intends to change the regime in the bill around the intervention by non-party actors in the election campaign.

“We welcome changes to the Electoral Finance Bill that will mean that non-party advertising in election year will only get caught by the cap on election spending if the advertising is truly electioneering,”says Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader.

“However, there is still a huge gap in the Electoral Finance Bill and that is the failure to address the problem of large anonymous donations and secretive trusts funding the major parties. In 2005 National received $1.7million from secretive trusts that hide the true source of the money while Labour received $300,000 in anonymous donations.

“Nicky Hager’s book, The Hollow Men, revealed that the National Party actually knew the true source of these donations from the secretive trusts, even though the public was never told.

“The Electoral Finance Bill should be changed so the public has a right to know who is funding political parties. It is essential that the public can examine a Government’s decision making in light of who funded their election campaign, to see whether there is undue influence. Let the sun shine on donations to political parties.

The Greens believe that the bill should be changed so that the actual source of any donation greater than $1000 must be identified or the donation handed over to the Electoral Commission.

“It is remarkable that under the Electoral Finance Bill any anonymous donation larger than $500 to a non-party involved in electioneering has to be handed over to the Electoral Commission, while political parties are free to accept as much ‘anonymous’ money as they like.”

ENDS

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