Submission re the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
PIAC’s submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) raises a number of serious concerns about the Government’s proposed reforms to Commonwealth electoral law.
This includes the imposition of onerous, and arguably unjustified, regulation on a wide range of civil society organisations, including charities and not for profit organisations, trade unions and even community legal centres, where they engage in public debate on issues that are likely to be before electors at an election, irrespective of when that occurs during the election cycle.
This includes a ban on such organisations using foreign donations to engage in these debates, as well as significantly increased reporting requirements. The Bill even proposes to require these bodies to disclose any political party memberships of senior staff and/or board members.
PIAC’s submission also argues that, while the ban on foreign donations to political parties and candidates may be welcome, this Bill does not address the biggest flaws of Australia’s electoral finance regulation, and that is the fact some political donations are not disclosed for up to 19 months, and that there is no obligation to disclose donations of less than $13,500.