When former Liberal Party treasurer Michael Yabsley says our political donations system equals ‘governments for rent’, we need to believe him. He’s launched a reform plan in a campaign to drive fundamental change.
Liberal Party fundraising legend Michael Yabsley has called for a transition to a “low-value high volume” political donation system that would force parties to regrow their community links and end what Yablsey calls “governments for rent”.
Describing himself a poacher-turned-gamekeeper, the former treasurer of the federal Liberal Party and long-time critic of donation laws today launched Dark Money, a paper and a ten-point plan to radically alter political fundraising and expenditure. His plan involves:
- A $200 cap on political donations per individual, covering the entire electoral cycle in each jurisdiction
- A cap on election expenditure, including advertising
- Only enrolled Australian citizens permitted to make donations
- All donations to be anonymous and non-disclosable, as their small size would remove the case for disclosure
- No other entities, corporations, unions or organisations to be permitted to make donations
- All public funding of elections to be removed
- Laws to be enforced with criminal sanctions carrying custodial sentences, including targeting the aggregation of small donations into significantly larger donations
- National uniform donation laws across all states and territories
- Electoral commissions to police laws and review caps
- A bespoke federal/state body to develop a program of election debates and set media pieces during election campaigns.
Yabsley was joined by an array of luminaries for the launch: former Transfield head and deliberative democracy campaigner Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, Labor eminence grise Stephen Loosley, former banker and Women for Election CEO Licia Heath and former judge and Centre for Public Integrity chair Anthony Whealy.
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