Petition: Political Donations Reform

Whether we’re talking about climate change, crappy development, gambling, or privatisation, we won’t see meaningful change until we kick big money out of politics. 

The tobacco industry, big banks, the pokies lobby and fossil fuel companies have no business giving money to politicians. The Queensland Greens already refuse all corporate donations, but we believe they should be banned by law. 

Everyone knows that Queensland has a pretty poor history when it comes to corruption and a lack of accountability in politics, and as the only State without either an upper house or proportional representation, there are far fewer checks and balances on sitting governments. 

That’s why in 2018 I introduced a Bill to ban all political donations from for-profit companies. The Bill is similar to the State government’s ban on property developer donations, but it goes further by extending the ban to all for-profit corporations and lobbying organisations like the Queensland Resources Council. 

Banning corporate donations is a necessary step to remove the risks that political donations from profit-driven companies and lobbyists pose to our democracy.

Corporate donations make our lives harder, because they help hand control of the political system to people who already have lots of wealth and power. Giving big corporations more power means lower wages, more expensive housing, more environmental destruction and fewer safeguards. 

My Bill would be an important first step in cleaning up our democracy. Beyond this, I’m also pushing to:

  • Ban cash for access meetings with Government Ministers and MPs
  • Introduce spending and donation caps for all political parties
  • Overhaul the budget estimates process to improve accountability and transparency 
  • Protect the right to peaceful protest and dissent
  • Give our anti-corruption watchdog real teeth

You can see a copy of my Bill here, and read my speech introducing the Bill here.

PETITION to the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland:

Queenslanders are deeply concerned about the corrupting influence of political donations on government decision-making.

Queensland’s corruption watchdog, the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), recently investigated corruption at the Local Government level and found disturbing levels of dodgy relationships and donations from companies with vested interests in decision-making. The full extent of corruption in Local Governments is still being uncovered, but no investigation like this has been conducted into the extent of corruption, or the perceived risk of corruption, at the State government level in Queensland.

The CCC has previously acknowledged that the increased the risk of corruption, associated with political donations, is a key concern. The Palaszczuk Government and Opposition could, with a bipartisan direction through the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee, direct the CCC to investigate the corrupting influence of political donations on all aspects of governance, policy and decision-making in Queensland.

The integrity of Queensland’s political system requires that the public have trust in the independence of our parliamentarians and political parties, and faith that our Government is representing the people, as a democracy should.

Your petitioners, therefore, request that the House call on the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee to instigate a CCC investigation into:
• the extent of political donations to Members of Parliament, registered political parties, political candidates and associated entities in Queensland;
• the influence of political donations on governance, policy and decision-making in Queensland; and
• the perceived risk of corruption caused by political donations in Queensland.

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