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Howard puts shutters up on political donations

Howard puts shutters up on political donations

Greens Leader Bob Brown today condemned the Howard government's proposed electoral changes to put up more shutters on political donations. When passed, they will allow political donations of up to $90,000 to be given to any party in any year anonymously.

"We should be aiming at more transparency, not less," Senator Brown said.

"The only thing worse than the transparency of the political donations released today is the transparency voters will have access to next year," Senator Brown said.

Proposed legislation will allow anonymous donations of up to $10,000.
There is nothing in the legislation to prevent an individual or company from donating $10,000 to each state and federal branch of a party. Next year an individual or a company could donate $90,000 to the Labor or Liberal party and the public would never know.

"Today's disclosures show disgraced former Reserve Bank board member
Robert Gerard's company, Gerard Corporation, gave over $205,000 to the Liberal party. Kerry Packer's Channel 9 gave them $45,800. Richard Pratt's company Pratt Holdings gave $100,000 to the Labor party and ABC Learning, concerned with the portfolio of former Nationals Minister for Children's Affairs Larry Anthony, gave $50,000 to the Nationals. What do they think they are getting in return?" Senator Brown asked

An analysis of previous years' AEC data shows up to 40% of receipts by political parties will be secret after the $10,000 threshold is put in place.

"We should, like Canada, put an end to cheque book democracy. It is
over twenty years since the introduction of public funding was introduced to clean up politics, but it is clear that Labor and the Coalition remain reliant on big business funding," Senator Brown said.

"The Greens will oppose the legislation and move amendments to create greater transparency, not less."

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