We need to ban political donations

AT least 39 countries ban corporate donations, including Mexico, France and Costa Rica. yet, despite political donations and corruption consistency being in the headlines within Australia, our country continues to allow political "gifting".

The Labor Party, Greens and Liberal Party all accept individual and corporate donations.

Australia sanctions the role of money in politics. This acceptance undermines democracy, allows for the murky world of politicians and political parties to blithely circumvent donation laws and promotes a system devoid of consistency and transparency.

Our system promotes privileged access for political donors beyond what the rest of society can expect and offers reward, assistance and "a leg up" on the basis of monetary "gifts" as opposed to merit.

The call, by Peter Wellington to axe property developer donations is a move in the right direction.

However, it doesn't go far enough.

Developers wanting favours from politicians or parties can break up a large donation into small donations and nominate individuals to donate funds on their behalf in order to "stay under the radar."

Moreover, allowing for individual donations and other corporate donations doesn't address the problem of cash paid to politicians in exchange for unfair and unfettered access, favours or favourable decisions.

The only way to end corruption due to political donations is to ban political donations once and for all.

However, wouldn't this restrict the democratic right of political parties and politicians to communicate their ideas?

No it wouldn't.

For years I have been advocating for a candidate's booklet.

The booklet would be distributed to all voters prior to every election and offer every candidate the opportunity to publish their photo and policies.

The booklet would encourage democracy - all candidates, including the poor, would have an equal opportunity to promote their policies.

Members of the public would be in a position to make fully informed decisions about who they wanted to represent them.

Finally, as there would no longer be any requirement for "public funding", millions of tax payers money would be saved over the next 10 years.

I haven't, nor will I ever, accept donations of any kind.

It may take longer for me than others to get elected because of this.

However, I'd rather be criticised for taking a while to get elected than engaging in morally dubious fundraising practices, ultimately accepting bribes and undermining democracy.

Dr Patricia Petersen

Independent candidate for Blair



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