The democracy of political donations

CEO Social Justice Blog

Newcastle is in the news at the moment, for all the wrong reasons, with some of our prominent political and business leaders very much in the headlines. It is apparent that codes of conduct have been breached but there does appear to be a lot of confusion about who can and who can’t make donations to political parties during election campaigns.

It seems to me that in a democracy, groups will always try to influence political decision-making and there are lots of people who earn a living lobbying politicians to improve the bargaining position of their particular interest group.

I don’t understand, however, why one particular profession is not allowed to make donations to a political party, and that is the profession of property developer.

What is the difference between a property developer making a donation and another group who are wanting to introduce a new form of business in Australia for example, privatised prisons from the UK.

It seems to me that there are two ways to clear up this confusion. One is to ban political donations from absolutely everybody, which I believe is the position of our current MP in Newcastle and the second option is to permit donations from anybody as long as the name of the donor and the value of the gift is listed in the annual accounts of the recipient. Clear rules and guidelines could help avoid  difficulties in the future

These negative media stories are a deep concern . If we lose faith in our political leaders, business leaders, religious leaders, educational leaders etc, there is a risk that Australians  will slip into a cynical world where only self matters.