85% of Political donations in Australia are Dark – Who Owns Our Politicians?
OUR SYSTEM IS BROKEN
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: HOW DO THE PARTIES STACK UP?
HIDING THE MONEY TRAIL – HOW DO THEY DO IT?
Although there are some legitimate reasons why Dark Money may not be declared, it is a loophole that can be exploited.
Dark Money is hidden in three main ways…
Political parties have set up a range of “affiliated entities” or fundraising clubs – such as The Free Enterprise Foundation (Liberal) and Labor Holdings (ALP) – to obscure the origins of payments they receive.
Political parties use creative accounting techniques to classify payments as “other receipts” instead of “donations” – meaning they get mixed in with all other income like share dividends and service fees for reporting purposes.
Donations over $13,200 need to be disclosed, but by splitting payments into smaller chunks donors can avoid detection. These might be distributed between party state and territory branches, or staggered over different days. This is the biggest loophole for Dark Money.
HOW CAN WE FIX THE SYSTEM?
Together we can put people back at the heart of our democracy – here’s what we need to do:
- End the shroud of secrecy: require all donations above $500 to be publicly disclosed on the internet in real-time, including donations to and from affiliated entities.
- Stop the money game: cap the amount any individual or corporation can donate at $1000 per financial year, and introduce expenditure caps on election campaigns.
- Stop offshore entities buying political influence:prohibit any corporation not registered in Australia, or any individual who doesn’t have citizenship or residency, from making donations.
- A corruption watchdog with teeth: create an independent federal corruption watchdog with broad investigative powers.
- Close the revolving door: prevent Members of Parliament from engaging in lobbying work for a period of three years after they leave office.
To make our message heard over the flood of Dark Money, we need to speak together with one voice. Add your name today!
This website was made possible by the 3,300 incredible GetUp members that chipped in to fund groundbreaking research into Big Money in politics. Please note that all figures in this report exclude public funding and payments made between different branches of the same political party.
Follow this link to see the full Dark Money report: https://www.getup.org.au/dark-money-full-report