New bill means bigger donations can go undeclared

QUEENSLAND state politicians will no longer have to declare donations when they reach $1000 with new laws now pushing that trigger beyond $12,000.

The LNP Government was expected to pass its Electoral Reform Bill overnight, despite minor parties and independents warning it risks giving major parties more cash.

Members of Katter's Australian Party, Palmer United Party plus independent Peter Wellington spoke to reporters on Thursday to criticise the changes.

They said Labor and LNP will be the major winners from changes that would have taxpayers fund "policy development funding" for political parties based on their electoral strength.

Sunshine Coast independent member for Nicklin Peter Wellington said the reforms showed how "rattled" the government was in the lead-up to the 2015 election.

KAP member for Mt Isa Rob Katter said the reforms ignore the more than 500,000 Queenslanders who refused to vote for the two major parties in 2012.

He said allowing politicians to keep donations under $12,400 secret "will increase secrecy and possible corruption around political donations.

"It is to benefit of larger corporate-type donors who are not as commonly associated with minor parties," he said.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the changes would bring Queensland in line with Federal legislation.

He said advice from Crown Law suggested the former legislation could be ruled invalid by the High Court.

He said the incredible increase to the disclosure threshold would from now on be determined at a Federal level.

If the Commonwealth drops its threshold, the changes will flow on here.

"We would certainly support them lowering it," he said.

When considered by the Legal Affairs Committee headed by Ipswich MP Ian Berry, it backed the increase.

In its report, it wrote the low trigger "creates administrative burden for no worthwhile gain."



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