Donation law changes 'could lead to more cover-ups'

Jarrod Bleijie
Jarrod Bleijie

THE Queensland Council for Civil Liberties has expressed concerns that changes surrounding political donations could lead to the development of more sophisticated concealment techniques.

Under a raft of changes to the state's electoral laws, expected to be passed in State Parliament on Thursday, donation caps for parties and individual candidates will be abolished and the donation threshold lifted to $12,400.

Minor parties will also need to secure at least 10% of the total vote to receive public funding.

Currently they only need receive 4% of the total vote before they are eligible to apply to have certain election expenses reimbursed.

The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, in its submission to a parliamentary committee, also opposed the proposal requiring voters to produce identification before casting their vote at future elections.

President Michael Cope said in the organisations' submission voters had the right to know who was financing the state's political parties.

"We are concerned that attempts to restrict the amounts of political donations will simply lead to the development of more sophisticated concealment techniques," he said.

"It seems to us the most important thing is that the public knows where the money is coming from and in what amounts."

Mr Pope said the proposal requiring voters to produce photo identification before casting their vote at future elections was also flawed.

"Voter identification requirements are a solution in search of a problem," he said.

"There is absolutely no justification for this measure."

The Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee, in recommending the bill be passed, suggested Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie set the threshold for political parties to secure public funding at 6%.

They also recommended voters have the option to present a range of documents (both photographic and non-photographic) to ensure they have the best chance of fulfilling the proof of identity requirements and are able to cast their vote without incident.

Topics:  political donations

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