What can be done about it?

  • Ban Political advertising on TV – The UK did this, and to be honest, how nice does it sound? Would it make a difference and / or balance the books? Obviously people believe it does, a prime time ad in the week before an election costs $1 million per night, just for the Sydney Metro area.

  • Limit the annual donations from individual and organisations to $2000 per year – Did you know Ireland successfully introduced laws that limit the amount of money and individual or company can donate to a political party each year to a maximum of £1000? This means that financially each individual has the capacity to have as much influence as any other individual or even large multinational corporation.

  • Ban companies or organisations from donating. Citizens only.– This idea comes from Canada and is a good one. It is illegal to offer money to a political party in exchange for something in return, at least openly. Yet it is generally accepted that ‘pay to play’ is how the system works. Whether it is the opportunity to talk to the relevant minister or to gain some of the increasingly outsourced government contracts. Such as 4 Sydney firms that donated around $1 million between them and co-incidentally gained government contracts worth $700 million. An election campaign can be entirely funded from corporate donations eg fossil fuels; healthcare; industry; big pharma; unions, and there are no limits on the laws the government can make based on the special interests of those who financed their campaign to get elected. Where as a rich multinational company can call and speak to the relevant minister the next day, local citizens can be waiting up to 12 months.

  • Introduce Senate oversite of government contracts – As per the points we made above, government contract are co-incidentally being awarded to donors, friends etc. Currently there is absolutely no oversite over how the government makes these decisions. Allowing senate oversight would mean that the Government would at least have to show some due diligence in their choice of contractors.

    • Make all donations over $20 mandatory to declare - Are you aware that over half the political donations to the major parties are undisclosed? The two major parties have received over a Billion dollars in undisclosed donations over the last 20 years.

    • Funds raised during a fundraiser should still be classified as a donation – When you pay $100,000 have lunch sitting next to the Prime Minister, the money is clearly not for the meal, and should be declared. Better yet, just make it illegal to purchase time with our politicians. Listening to the input of all parties involved in a decision they are making is already their job. They don’t need to be paid again for it, and they don’t need to neglect the job when it comes to constituents that don’t have $100,000 to spend on a single lunch.

    • Stop parliamentary access for professional lobbyists – A billion dollar industry, professional lobbyists are people who are employed purely to talk directly to politicians on behalf of their client, say for example, big business. Except, unlike you and I, they have a direct pass into the parliamentary office building, allowing them to walk up and approach politicians in their work space and at any time, whether its appreciated or not. There are 3 times as many professional lobbyists in Parliament than there are politicians. How about they be limited to the same means of approach as the rest of the population?

    • Create an independent corruption watchdog. – Promised at the last election but not delivered, this is essential. The question was posed by the Prime Minister last year: Do you really want us to be constantly second guessing our decisions?, to which my reply is yes. These policies don’t occur as a snap decision, they are formulated, planned and then implemented. If they need to stop and think about whether their policy is or isn’t in the best interests of Australian and Australians, then yes, they should do this.