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Wednesday, 2 March 2016
Page: 1663

Senator LAZARUS (QueenslandLeader of the Glenn Lazarus Team) (17:33): I rise today to speak to this motion as I think this topic is very important. Firstly, I agree the donation disclosure threshold should be lowered to $1,000 to ensure all sizable donations are disclosed and reported to the general public. It is about time the people of Australia got to see what types of donations are being made to the major parties and how these donations are affecting decisions being made by governments of the day. Lowering the disclosure threshold will enhance our system of democracy and allow the public more access to who is funding political campaigns.

I would like to see the changes go one step further, by ensuring not only that donations are disclosed but that donor information must also include key stakeholders, including associated senior management and directors if the donor is a business or other entity. This means we can start to map how donors are connected with people who are connected with projects and decision makers in government. This is where the true graft and corruption will start to become obvious and the underhand, dirty activities of politicians and others will be exposed.

Further, any anonymous donations received by political parties must be rejected and redirected into a community fund to pay for essential community services. This will ensure donations are made in a transparent way and, if they are not, they should be given to the community rather than being wasted on the deep pockets of major political parties.

I also agree we should definitely ban foreign donations. I guarantee that, if we did this, the sell-off of Australia would stop. The only reason that the government is allowing our farms to be sold off to overseas buyers is that they are getting major kickbacks from foreign buyers. Banning foreign donations will ensure Australian political parties are not subject to overseas influences, and the interest of Australia will be put first again—like it was so many years ago. (Time expired)