Until recent changes were made, the New South Wales donations regime was lax and I repeatedly called for reform in my submissions, speeches and questions in Parliament.
In the past two years action has finally been taken to address community concerns about political donations, including the capping of donation amounts and campaign expenditure, and the banning of ANY donation from the development and tobacco industries.
Political donations provide an opportunity to participate in the political process and express support for a candidate's policies or approach, but corporate donations can, and have been used to get policy outcomes that are not in the public interest.
The Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Amendment Bill bans all corporate donations, permitting only donations from individuals.
The Bill also caps election campaign expenditure by a third party organisation so that it comes within the expenditure cap of a political party it is affiliated with - preventing unions from boosting the campaign budgets of some parties. This is particularly important for independents who do not have the advantage of state-wide campaigns.
I supported the changes proposed in the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Amendment Bill in Parliament, which I believe, will create a fairer political system.