10 October 2014
Independent member for Sydney Alex Greenwich has called on the Premier to work with independents on interim donations reform to ensure independents and minor parties can fairly contest the next election.
The Expert Panel on Political Donations headed by Kerry Schott is consulting widely and assessing election funding models to make recommendations on donations reform that will remove risks of corruption and undue influence and the panel has released an interim report.
The Premier should refer any short term proposals to the panel before introducing legislation in Parliament, yet it the major parties’ unelected officials are negotiating changes behind closed doors.
Mr Greenwich said:
“The panel’s interim report stresses the need to improve transparency, yet there has been no transparency from the Premier about legislation that is set to be rushed through Parliament next week.”
"Independents and the community have been excluded from consultation process, and it appears policy is being developed and negotiated by party political power-brokers"
Mr Greenwich and fellow Independent Greg Piper are worried that proposed changes will favour established parties over Independents and new parties.
Media reports suggest public funding at the next election will be based on the number of votes a party gets. With major parties running candidates in each seat, they will get the lion’s share while Independents who run in four horse races in one seat will get pittance.
Party candidates already have an advantage with the support of their party’s state-wide campaign and the economies of scale to purchase campaign paraphernalia, funding rules should not increase this advantage.
“The Government, Opposition, and the Greens need to come clean on the backroom negotiations that will change how candidates fund their campaigns at the next elections. I'm concerned that the changes will be designed by the parties for the parties.”
“A healthy democracy ensures that any person, regardless of party or political affiliation and wealth can run for office – the right funding model is critical to this and Parliament should not rush through changes negotiated by party hacks.”
The Interim report by the panel is in line with many of the recommendations in Mr Greenwich’s submission.
The Expert Panel's Interim report is available HERE
Mr Greenwich’s submission is HERE.
Mr Piper’s comments are available HERE.