South Australian opposition leader calls for a ban on political contributions

South Australia’s opposition leader Peter Malinauskas has called for a ban on what he calls an “arms race” for political contributions.

Talk to ABC This week, Marinauskas said that Australian and Western liberal democracy-wide political parties and candidates are in constant competition for more resources to fight higher-priced elections than ever before. He expressed concern about the situation and said it had been on record for over a decade. campaign.

“I think the best example is … of course, US politics. We now see that over 90% of successful election candidates are the richest candidates,” he said.

“So, the more money you get, the more likely you are to win, and I’m our democracy if the people who are winning the election campaign are the ones with the deepest pockets. I don’t believe that democracy will be strengthened. “

“You have to be the one with the deepest thoughts,” he said, and by eliminating donations altogether, politicians spend less time raising money for their campaigns and members. He added that he would spend more time doing the work of thinking about the future.

According to the report by Center for Public IntegrityThe Australian Labor Party and the Confederation of Free States have raised more than $ 100 million (US $ 70.8 million) in fiscal year 2019-2020.

An example of that year’s donation was Pratt Holdings, owned by billionaire Anthony Pratt, who handed $ 1.3 million to the Liberal Party, $ 250,000 to the public, and $ 20,000 to workers.

Gas company Woodside Energy will donate $ 110,000 to Labor and Liberal and $ 55,000 to Nationals, respectively, while Macquarie Group and the Australian Hotel Association will donate approximately $ 251,000 and $ 232,000 to Labor and Liberal, respectively. did.

Meanwhile, mining giant Clive Palmer topped the list of donors and poured $ 5.9 million into his US Australian Party.

When faced with the history of Labor funding, including the business sector SA Progressive, Marinauskas said all major parties have accepted donations and have a business financing sector.

Marinauskas admitted that certain fundraising activities “damage people’s perceptions of democracy, which undermines democracy,” he said.

He emphasized that the ban should apply equally to unions and everyone, not just business donations.

Moreover, he wants to see a total ban on political contributions, not just during elections.

“I think it would be better if the major political parties didn’t have to raise money for a significant amount of time to fund the campaign. I think there are several ways to achieve that goal. That’s what I want to pursue, if we form a government, “Marinauskas said.

He first proposed this long before he entered Congress and said he is now raising his hand to become prime minister.

“Once we get there, I’m not going to give up my principles. When we get there, I’ll take advantage of the authority invested in that position and get broader and better results for democracy. I would like to achieve what I think is, “he said.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether it would consider banning political contributions as needed, or if it would return to power after the state elections.

Steve Milne