Victoria has some of the slackest political donation laws in the Western world. This allows dodgy developers, gambling lobbyists, or even mobsters to influence our democracy. In light of recent events, I've again called upon our government to ban dirty donations. Here's what I had to say:
"My adjournment matter is to the Special Minister of State on the matter of political donations. The action I seek is for the minister to write to me and explain whether this government will reform political donation laws in Victoria.
The Greens support laws that:
(1) ban donations from corporations in certain industries such as gambling and property development;
(2) cap donations from individuals at $1000;
(3) require all donations over $100 to be disclosed within seven business days to bring us in line with other states such as Queensland which have real-time donation disclosure; and
(4) give the anti-corruption commission real teeth to investigate MPs.
Victoria has some of the weakest political donation laws in the western world. We know that donations under $13 500 can be kept entirely secret, and larger donations can be kept secret until months after an election as our donation disclosure laws are so weak and disclosure is severely delayed.
The Leader of the Opposition's recent dinner with alleged criminals, who discussed donating to the Liberal Party, has further highlighted the weaknesses in our system, but they are weaknesses that were already clear.
We have seen Labor accept donations linked to Crown Casino and extend Crown's licence. We have seen both Labor and the Liberals take donations from property developers who seek to have influence over government decisions.
Big property developers, gambling lobbyists and apparently even alleged mobsters can fill the coffers of the old political parties, hoping to increase their influence over Parliament in return.
In December 2015 I introduced a bill to ban big developers from donating to political parties and candidates, and to introduce real-time disclosure of political donations. Unfortunately Labor, the Liberals and the National Party joined together to vote that bill down.
We need our parliaments to be completely free from the corrupting influence of political donations. We need to know that Victoria's democracy belongs to us, the people, and not to vested interests.
The community expects nothing less, and I look forward to the letter from the Special Minister of State on the issue."