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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NSW Premier Baird takes a step towards restoring trust

NSW, already with the toughest laws in the country regarding political donations is to go further. If the Federal and other state governments don't follow please ask why:
Legislation to be introduced into Parliament today will:
  • Broadly double penalties for a range of offences under the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosure Act;
  • Prohibit third party arrangements being used to avoid donation and expenditure caps – carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment;
  • Allow for prosecutions for all future offences to be commenced up to 10 years after the offence was committed – up from the current three years; and
  • Require parties to disclose political donations received from 1 July 2014 to 1 February 2015 – this disclosure must be made within one week of the end of this period to the Electoral Funding Authority, to be made public before the election.
Mr Baird said a new, fairer public funding model will be introduced to reduce the corrosive influence of donations in the political system. Under changes to be introduced, the government will lower caps on political donations and spending caps for political parties and third party campaigners while a new model of public funding will be introduced that rewards performance rather than spending.
Update-Parliament passed the bill on 21 October. A fair bit of criticism as reported by Sean Nicholls  including late changes that do not reduce the amount of private donations able to be raised and spent by parties. On the transparency front parties will have to disclose donations received between July 2014 and March 1, 2015 before the election on March 28 next year. The initial proposal was for the disclosure period to end on February 1.

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