Time for reform: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull can expect a letter from opposition leader Bill Shorten on political donations. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called for a ban on anonymous donations over $50 and ‘donation splitting’. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Bill Shorten has moved to put political funding reform back on the agenda, calling on Malcolm Turnbull to back a range of transparency measures that would increase scrutiny on the millions of dollars that will be donated to major parties in the 2016 election year.
In a letter from the opposition leader to the Prime Minister, Mr Shorten calls for the disclosure threshold for donations by individuals, companies and unions to be dropped to $1000, from the current limit of $13,000.
Mr Shorten has also called for a ban on anonymous donations over $50 and an end to so-called “donation splitting”, a practice which allows some organisations to avoid disclosure at the current $13,000 limit by using related entities to stay under the threshold.
Mr Shorten first outlined support for donations reform in July last year and in December, it formed part of a range of policies announced before the trade union royal commission’s final report into governance and corruption as a pre-emptive strike to inoculate Labor against the commission’s findings.
The measures are designed to “ensure Australian unions remain strong and modern in order to build on their historic achievements in our society” according to Mr Shorten.
“By proposing tough, fair and effective proposals Labor is committed to addressing utterly unacceptable revelations of theft and the misuse of union members’ money by a small number of union officials. Labor’s proposals also explicitly extend current electoral funding laws to donations and expenditure relating to all elections managed by the Australian Electoral Commission, including union elections,” he said in the letter.
“I am aware that this matter continues to be difficult for the leadership of the Liberal Party. However I strongly urge you to support this reform, particularly given the failings of governance in the Liberal Party’s fundraising activities, including the theft of significant amounts of members’ and taxpayers’ money from your Victorian and Tasmanian branches.”
The opposition leader concluded in the letter that while the Coalition was willing to discuss the royal commission’s report, it had shown a marked reluctance to examine donation reform.
Mr Turnbull has maintained a stony silence on reforming political donations since taking over in September, despite support for reform from NSW Premier Mike Baird.
Mr Baird wrote to former prime minister Tony Abbott on August 14 last year, asking for “co-ordinated national reform of election funding laws … for the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments”.
Follow James Massola on Facebook.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名购买.