Topics: political donations, foreign donations
[BILL SHORTEN GRABS OMITTED]
SENATOR THE HON RYAN: This is a stunt. We need to deal with this seriously, as the Prime Minister has said and we do that by dealing with it in a thoughtful and comprehensive fashion.
JULIA HOLMAN: The Government Minister responsible for donation reform is Senator Scott Ryan. He is not exactly jumping up to support Labor’s plan.
SENATOR RYAN: I take it with a grain of salt because this is essentially the same bill they’ve introduced before when they were in government and they didn’t progress it into the Senate, they didn’t bring it to a vote. The issue of foreign donations is quite important but it is important we deal with it comprehensively. We need to look at the issue of foreign donations to third parties, there is no point having restrictions on donations to political parties when they can just go to groups like GetUp! We also need to clarify what we mean by foreign donation. Labor’s bill would seemingly prevent an Australian citizen on the electoral role who resided overseas making a donation from their account – I think there are Constitutional risks with that.
HOLMAN: Labor also wants to reduce the donation disclosure limit from $13,200, where it is at the moment, to $1000. Will you be considering that?
SENATOR RYAN: This is a bit of stunt from Bill Shorten. He didn’t disclose, for several years, the $40,000 effective donation from his union to his own campaign nearly a decade ago
We’ve got the most comprehensive inquiry into electoral funding and donations going on at the moment. In the first week of March, it will issue a public report on the issue of foreign donations. Following that, it will also issue a comprehensive report on funding and donations. The report from the Electoral Matters Committee on foreign donations, which is a very complex issue as I’ve explained, is only three weeks away.
[PROF COLLEEN LEWIS GRABS OMITTED]