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Thursday, 15 November 2018
Page: 8426

Senator WATERS (Queensland) (18:03): I will move Australian Greens amendment (7) on sheet 8546 revised. But, before I do that, I flag that I will withdraw amendment (8) on sheet 8546. Coming to amendment (7), there has been a lot of talk here, particularly in relation to the last amendments, where only the Greens and a couple of our other colleagues voted to oppose donations from large corporate vested interests. Some of the earlier criticism was, 'You're singling out these people unfairly.' Folks, now is your chance! This amendment would say that all donations will be capped at $1,000 per year. We don't care who you are—absolutely everyone, whether you're an individual, a union or a business: no more donations of more than $1,000 a year. We genuinely want to clean up politics, and this is how you do it.

There is a small step forward in this bill that restricts some foreign donations. We think you can drive a truck through the loopholes. We want to fix those loopholes with an amendment just like this. Let's get big money out of politics. Let's put people back into the heart of decision-making. Now is your chance to show whether you actually want to fix this problem or whether you just want to look like you're doing something in the hope that this issue goes away. The community wants something done about this. There is widespread support for this amendment. Getting big money out of politics is the single most common issue raised with me as I move around the state and the country.

Senator Colbeck: Really?

Senator WATERS: Yes, really. Maybe you should do some more moving or perhaps do some more listening. This is the biggest issue that the community has. They feel disenfranchised by politics, they feel unheard and they feel like the parliament has been sold to the highest bidder. Well, it has. This is our chance to get our democracy back. The Greens are very proud to move this amendment to restrict donations to no more than $1,000 per year. I'm very interested to see how people vote. I hereby move Greens amendment (7) on sheet 8546 revised:

(7) Schedule 1, item 33, page 42 (before line 6), before section 302F, insert:

302EB Donations to political entities by donors other than restricted donors

(1) A person or entity (the donor) contravenes this subsection if:

(a) the donor is not a restricted donor; and

(b) the donor makes, in a financial year, gifts totalling more than the disclosure threshold to, or for the benefit of, a political entity.

Note: The physical elements of an offence against subsection (2) are set out in this subsection (see section 302R).


(2) A person or entity commits an offence if the person or entity contravenes subsection (1).

Penalty: 2 years imprisonment or 800 penalty units.

(3) Section 15.4 of the Criminal Code (extended geographical jurisdiction—category D) applies to an offence against subsection (2).

Civil penalty

(4) A person or entity is liable to a civil penalty if the person or entity contravenes subsection (1).

Civil penalty:

The higher of the following:

(a) 800 penalty units;

(b) if there is sufficient evidence for the court to determine the amount or value, or an estimate of the amount or value, of the gift at the time the gift is made—3 times that amount or value.

(5) Subsection (4) applies:

(a) whether or not the conduct constituting the contravention of subsection (1) occurs in Australia; and

(b) whether or not a result of the conduct constituting the alleged contravention of subsection (1) occurs in Australia.