In this democracy of ours, clearly many of us think the RET is good. Recent PWF posts show that lots of people and community groups are doing something about a problem the world is facing. So, WHAT exactly is driving the Coalition to be so clearly against retaining the RET when it’s what people want?
(1) What is the state of our democracy today? The party room line of our major parties controls our elected representatives. Are MPs able to voice the opinions of their constituents and make a stand in spite of the financial and ideological drivers of the parties? Last year Cathy McGowan and the voters of Indi gave a resounding ‘No’ to this assumption.
(2) Michelle Grattan from The Conversation commented recently on:
“the busy Prime Minister…willing to fly to Melbourne to raise funds for his party…such dinners…are happening all the time. Who is at them, what is said, what, if any representations are made are not documented…the secret subculture of politics we know little about.
We do know, however, those who donate (above a threshold) to the parties. Companies and individual business figures with fossil fuel interests contributed a total of more than A$900,000 to the federal Liberal party between 2009-10 and 2012-13.”
(3) Think The US Electoral System Is Flawed? Check Out Australia’s… Jennifer Rayner, also of The Conversation, writes:
“Around 12 months after the 2013 federal election, we’ll find out how much our parties raised in donations and where these donations came from, but only for amounts more than $12,100…
My recent analysis of electoral regulation in America, Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand suggests that the loosest regulatory environment can actually be found right here in Australia…
The Australian electorate has no way of knowing how much money parties really spend campaigning for office”.
In the US there is a Federal Electoral Commission website and a Sunlight Foundation Open Congress – Making Government Accountable and Transparent, a website with info available from public records where you can see who is spending what and where it’s coming from.
Australian National University researchers, Sally Young and Joo-Cheong Tham state:
“There is inadequate transparency of funding. Moreover, there is a grave risk of corruption as undue influence due to corporate contributions and the sale of political access.”
Legislation has been introduced to our Parliament to reform election funding – The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill 2009 – however, to date, the legislation has not been passed.
So, why is the Coalition against the RET?