MEDIA RELEASE - May 12, 2016
In light of Labor’s decision to vote with the Government against the Greens corruption risk reduction bill, Jamie Parker MP said it demonstrated a lack of political will to restore community confidence in political decision-making.
The Member for Balmain, and Greens spokesperson on anti-corruption, recently introduced a private member’s bill aimed to reduce corruption in NSW by banning political donations from mining and petroleum companies. The state’s corruption watchdog, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, has previously highlighted the corruption risk faced by the mining and resource sector as it directly benefits from government decisions.
The Mining and Petroleum Industry Political Donations Legislation Amendment (Corruption Risk Reduction) Bill 2015 extends to the mining and petroleum industry the current bans on political donations from the tobacco, alcohol, gambling and real estate development industries.
Donations declared to the New South Wales Electoral Commission in the period 2003-14 include over $1 million donated from resources companies in general to Labor, Liberal and The Nationals; lobbyists donated $1.8 million; Minerals Council of New South Wales donated $120,000; AGL donated $123,000; New South Wales Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group donated $106,000; Sydney Gas donated $71,000; Nathan Tinkler donated $50,000; Santos donated $38,000; BHP donated $26,000; Xtrata donated $27,000; Centennial Coal donated $19,000 and Gugarat NRE donated $24,000.
“Corporate interests do not donate money unless they want something in return,” said Mr Parker.
“In rejecting this opportunity to support donations reform, Labor and Liberal have shown themselves to value the interests of the mining industry over a clean, democratic process.
“Despite proposing legislation in 2009 that banned political donations from property developers – and in 2010 extending the ban to the tobacco industry and for-profit liquor and gambling industries – Labor argued today that it was inappropriate to ban donations from the mining industry.
“Instead of taking the next step in cleaning up politics in this state, Labor set up a straw man argument over questions of constitutionality.
“Yet in October 2015 the High Court of Australia found that NSW laws banning specific classes of political donations were constitutionally valid.
“Corporate donations have a corrosive influence on democracy and undermine confidence in the political system. It is particularly the case in the mining and resource sector where decisions of government determine the success or failure of major resource projects.
“This legislation aimed to secure and promote the actual and perceived integrity of Parliament and other institutions of government in NSW. The community is highly sceptical of the integrity of politicians as a whole, after the long line of Labor and Liberal MPs exposed by ICAC over the past couple of years.
“Elections should be about the contest of ideas, not a contest of cash. Whether it is cash in a brown paper bag or buying a table at a fundraising event the community needs to be sure that politicians are not being bought,” said Mr Parker.
For further comment from Jamie Parker: 9660 7586, 0413581603