Pressure for Western Australian legislation to regulate political donations has been increased by a new Queensland report, according to Parliamentary and Electoral Reform Minister Geoff Gallop.
"The report by Queensland's Electoral and Administrative Review Commission confirms the soundness of the WA Government's proposal," the Minister said.
"The match is almost one to one between the Political Finance Bill currently before the WA Legislative Council and the Queensland recommendations dealing with disclosure of political donations.
"This close agreement with the proposed WA legislation may be what is needed for the Bill to be passed in the Legislative Council with the support of the Independent, Mr Reg Davies."
Dr Gallop said the revised Commonwealth laws for full disclosure also fitted very well with the proposals made first in WA and now in Queensland.
It was the goal of the WA Government to promote complementary laws about the financing of politics throughout Australia at State and Commonwealth levels.
The Queensland Report now also recommended disclosure of electoral expenditure and, if the current ban on political broadcasts was lifted, some public financial assistance to help meet the election expenses faced by parties and candidates.
Dr Gallop said the shared key elements of the two proposals included:
· annual returns by political parties to disclose all income and gifts, report totals of all donors and all donations and details about those above the threshold;
· post election returns by candidates and 'other' persons to disclose donations received;
· details to be disclosed where a donation was above the threshold;
· make it unlawful for a party or candidate to receive a donation above the threshold from an unidentified person;
· provide for returns to become open to the public after being lodged with the Electoral Commissioner;
· prosecution of offences by substantial fines and the issue of search warrants where reasonable grounds existed; and -
· make it an offence to hinder a person from making a donation or exercising other political rights.
Dr Gallop said the WA Government had agreed to set the threshold for disclosure of political donations at $1,500 to obtain support from both Houses of Parliament. The Queensland Report recommended thresholds of $1,000 for parties and $200 for candidates.