SA To Legislate World Leading Electoral Donation Ban

SA Gov

The Malinauskas Labor Government will lead the world with laws to introduce a widespread ban on electoral donations, backed by tough penalties for those who seek to circumvent the law.

Delivering on a key election commitment, the Electoral (Accountability and Integrity) Amendment Bill 2024 seeks to prohibit the giving and receiving of electoral donations and gifts to registered political parties, members of Parliament and candidates.

Loans to registered political parties, MPs, groups, or candidates from anyone other than a financial institution would also be prohibited.

To ensure new entrants to the political process are not disadvantaged, newly registered political parties and unendorsed candidates will be entitled to receive donations of up to $2,700, and will also be subject to a spending cap.

A person who knowingly participates in a scheme to circumvent the proposed donation laws could face a fine of up to $50,000 or up to 10 years in prison.

The bill proposes a restructure and mandatory application of the existing public funding model, including a reduction in the amount parties, MPs and candidates can spend.

Given that under the proposed scheme participants would no longer be able to fundraise, the bill proposes to increase the amount of public funding provided, and a system of partial advance payments, so funding entitlements are available to parties and candidates prior to an election campaign.

This significant reform is complex and may well be subject to legal challenge, including via the High Court.

Starting today, members of the public and other interested parties are welcome to provide feedback on the draft bill over a four-week consultation period via the YourSAy website.

As put by Peter Malinauskas

Since its foundation, our state has a rich tradition of leading the world in democratic reform.

In the 1850s we pioneered universal male suffrage and the Australian ballot. Half a century later, we did the same for universal female suffrage and became the first jurisdiction in the world to grant women the right to stand for Parliament.

Now, we are on the cusp of becoming a world leader in ending the nexus between money and political power.

We want money out of politics.

We know this is not easy. These reforms may well face legal challenge.

But we are determined to deliver them, with this bill to be introduced in the Parliament in the near future.

As put by Dan Cregan

These reforms are ambitious and, if realised, will ensure South Australia is at the forefront of protecting and improving democratic practices.

Banning political donations will not be easy. Sectional interest groups and lobbyists will fight tooth and nail to keep the current system.

No political donor should be able to buy a favourable political outcome in our state by donating to parties or candidates.

The hard truth is that public confidence in democracy is in decline. We need to take real steps to address that decline or risk falling into the extreme political disfunction which is playing out in other jurisdictions.

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