Labor's Position on Key Issues

Political Donations

January 16, 2019

Labor is committed to the reform of the framework for political donations.

The most immediate and best way to restore confidence in our political system is to enhance transparency and improve disclosure arrangements for political donations.

The Abbott-Turnbull Government has refused to act while Liberal Party-related donation scandals have diminished the community’s confidence in our political donation system.

As recently as March 2016 the Liberals, Nationals and Greens together thwarted Labor’s attempts to legislate reforms to the system.

The current rules require disclosure of donations greater than $13,000. However, Labor voluntarily discloses all donations greater than $1,000.

Labor believes that we need a framework that harmonises political donation laws across Federal, State, Territory and local governments with improved integrity and transparency measures.

Labor believes that a modern, transparent donations legislation needs to include:

  • Reduce the donation disclosure threshold from the current level of $13,000 (indexed to inflation) to a fixed $1000.
  • Ban ‘donation splitting’ where donations are spread between different branches of political parties and associated entities – like the Free Enterprise Foundation – to avoid disclosure obligations.
  • Prohibit the receipt of foreign donations.
  • Ban the receipt of anonymous donations above $50.
  • Link public funding to campaign expenditure to prevent serial candidates like Pauline Hanson making a windfall from standing for election.
  • Introduce new offences and increased penalties for abuses of the political donation disclosure regime.

All political parties receive private donations, and all political parties must take responsibility for reform. The Australian people expect nothing less than transparency around those who wields power in our political system.