Donation laws should go back to drawing board – public

The Queensland public thinks that donations from a number of industries, including gaming, property, unions, alcohol and legal may be corrupt, but it would rather ban individual wrongdoers from donating rather than members of industries.

It also overwhelmingly believes corporations, including unions, who commit significant illegal acts, should be banned.

This is the result of polling conducted last week by Reachtel and commissioned by the Australian Institute for Progress.

“On the basis of this poll the government ought to immediately withdraw the legislation and go back to the drawing board,” according to AIP Executive Director, Graham Young.

“As it currently stands the legislation penalises members of the property industry (who donate overwhelmingly to the LNP), but leaves other industries that are major donors, like trade unions (who donate almost exclusively to the ALP), alone, on the basis there is a public perception of corruption around property donations.

The poll showed that Queenslanders thought donations most likely to be corrupt were from gaming (76%), property (73%), unions (63%) and alcohol (60%). Law firms scored 51%.

It also showed that 60.5% thought that perpetrators, rather than members of the same industry, ought to be penalised.

The most decisive result was that 87.8% thought corporations, including unions, who commit significant illegal acts should be banned from donating.

“On the basis of it being described by a Federal Court judge as the ‘most recidivist corporate offender in Australian history,‘ this surely would have to include the CFMEU.

“What this shows is that the average Queenslander has more sense of justice than the government, and apparently the CCC.

“They realise that only individuals should be punished for wrong-doing, not groups; that corruption will be well-spread thoughout the community, not limited to one group only; and that known offenders are the only group where there is justification for limiting democratic rights.”

Mr Young said the polling called into question the thoroughness of the CCC report at the same time as it reinforced doubts about whether the legislation would stand a legal challenge.

“Chairman of the CCC, Alan MacSporran, expressed concern that the legislation could be successfully challenged because there had been no proper inquiry, which would include public consultation. This polling demonstrates how right he is.

“The legislation should be withdrawn immediately. Pushing it through on the numbers will increase public perceptions of corruption rather than decrease them.”

For further information contact Graham Young 0411 104 801