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New donation disclosure laws ahead of Ipswich election

The Palaszczuk Government has introduced real-time political donation disclosure.
The Palaszczuk Government has introduced real-time political donation disclosure. DAN PELED

QUEENSLAND voters will now be able to view political donations in real-time following a move by the Palaszczuk Government to increase transparency around the controversial process. 

The changes are set to come in just before the Ipswich Mayoral election which follows the shock resignation of Paul Pisasale amidst an extortion charge.

The process has also fallen under the spotlight of the Crime and Corruption Commission in recent months with several councilors from Ipswich, Moreton Bay and the Gold Coast facing a grilling over how they declared their donations. 

Under the previous system voters were forced to wait for up to six months after an election before politicians' donors were made public. 

Minister for Local Government Mark Furner said the new system - which mimics one initially developed in New York - was an Australian first. 

"The Electronic Disclosure System is the first of its kind in Australia," Mr Furner said.

"These reforms bring council elections in line with reporting measures for state elections.

"They are part of a suite of changes aimed at giving Queenslanders increased clarity about those seeking to be their Local Government representative."

 

Mr Furner said the new regulations will ensure council candidates disclose campaign donations online within seven days.

"Instead of waiting more than six months to see who is donating to a political party, now voters in council elections will have access to this information within seven business days.

"It is imperative people are able to go to the polls with their eyes wide open and this system gives the public unprecedented access to information about who has donated to a candidate's campaign."

"Election to public office is the greatest of privileges. It is an absolute honour, and my message to candidates for Local Government is, we want you to be as transparent as possible with those you are seeking to serve."

 

A release from the Palaszczuk Government further explained the process.

"The legislative changes are part of the Palaszczuk Government's commitment to transparency at state and local government level," the release read. 

"A candidate, who has run in a previous council election within the past five years, will also be required to disclose donations they received since the last election.

"A new candidate's disclosure responsibilities begin at the time of their nomination for this election.

"Disclosures are required to continue until 30 days after the election and will appear on the Electoral Commission of Queensland's electronic disclosure system.

"This will apply to candidates for Mayor of Ipswich and candidates running to fill a councillor vacancy in Boulia Shire Council with a by-election also held on 19 August.

"The next Queensland local government elections are scheduled for 2020."

Topics:  disclosure donations editors picks laws

News Corp Australia


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