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Greens join Dems but only on one side.

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Senator Andrew Murray Australian Democrats

Electoral Matters and Public Administration Spokesperson

29 January, 2004 MEDIA RELEASE 04/030


While the Australian Democrats welcome the Greens’ call on Labor Leader Mark Latham to end ‘an epidemic’ of corporate donations, they are deeply concerned at its one-sided approach.

Democrats’ Electoral Matters spokesperson, Senator Andrew Murray, said: “The Democrats are delighted that the Greens are finally joining the Democrats’ decades-long campaign for comprehensive legislated donations reform1.

“The symbolism of them joining the fight is good news for donations reformers.

“The Greens have said they want to ‘address the epidemic of corporate donations’. Good, but it is too one-eyed and one-sided. It is no surprise that there’s no mention of the unions—that’s because the Greens support heavy union donations to political parties.

“The Democrats are determined to address not only the epidemic of corporate donations, but that of union donations as well.

“The worst aspect of political donations is that many come with ‘strings attached’.

“Political parties cannot be perceived as preferentially servicing big campaign donors including developers and unions, and those from the ‘sin industries’ like tobacco and gaming companies.

“The Democrats will only believe that Labor and the Greens are serious about cleaning up political donations, if they support donations which have ‘strings attached’ being explicitly prohibited by the Act.

“The objectives of a strong disclosure regime are to prevent, or at least discourage, corrupt, illegal or improper conduct in the formulation or execution of public policy.

“If Labor and the Greens are sincere about their intentions to clean-up the area of political donations, they will support the long-standing Democrat campaign for stronger disclosure laws to restrain political lobbying and make the funding of politics fully transparent.

“In other words, fewer stunts and more action.

“That means coming down hard on the epidemic of donations from the corporates AND the unions,” concluded Senator Murray.

Media contact: Grace Tan on (08) 9481 1455 or 0417 174 302

1 (A copy of our Supplementary Remarks to the Inquiry into the 2001 Federal Election is available upon request.)