The Honourable Paul Lucas
Government cracks down on political donations
New electoral reform laws have been introduced in Parliament today.
Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Paul Lucas said the Electoral Reform and Accountability Amendment Bill 2011 will fundamentally change the financing of election campaigns in Queensland.
"These reforms will see donations to political parties and election candidates capped, so wealthy individuals won't be able to 'buy' politicians in Queensland," Mr Lucas said.
"Queenslanders must be able to have confidence in our democratic system of government and there should be no perception that our politicians can be influenced by excessive political donations.
"Our electoral system is built on the foundation that each person should carry equal sway - one person, one vote.
"Nobody should be able to buy political influence in Queensland no matter how much money they have.
"Those with the means to make large donations should not be permitted to leverage more from the political process than everyday Queenslanders.
"Everyone should have the ability to play an active part in political life, not just wealthy businessmen or business interests like big tobacco.
"These reforms limit the potential for third parties to try to unduly influence our political system by donating excessive sums to the electoral campaigns of certain candidates or parties.
"They will apply to union donations as well as individual or company donations in exactly the same way."
Mr Lucas said that over the past two years the State Government has undertaken a comprehensive overhaul of integrity and accountability mechanisms and processes in government.
"These new reforms will build on the suite of integrity and accountability measures the State Government has already enacted," she said.
The Electoral Reform and Accountability Amendment Bill 2011 proposes to:
·Limit political donations to candidates endorsed by a political party ($2000) and each political party ($5000) for state campaigning;
·Cap campaign expenditure by political parties ($80,000 per seat being contested), third parties ($500,000 state-wide) and candidates ($50,000 for an endorsed candidate and $75,000 for an independent candidate);
·Increase public funding to candidates and political parties based on how much they spend;
·Provide for increased reporting requirements on campaign donations and expenditure;
·Require third parties to register with the Electoral Commission if they are going to spend more than $10,000 on campaigning and subject them to regulation about how they can raise money;
·Lower the provisional age of enrolment from 17 to 16 years of age; and