Published: 13 December 2019

The government is under pressure to release its final report on a review of the Electoral Act including political donations.

A government spokesman said: "As we have previously said, the review's interim report has been released, with a final report expected to government by the end of the year."

Independent member for Murchison Ruth Forrest wants the government to make public any proposed changes as a priority.

"This is such an important issue and there is wide public concern about the impact political donations have on the outcome of elections," Ms Forrest said.

"We have the weakest political donation laws in the nation and the government can't do nothing or keep pushing it out so we end up with last minute legislation and pressure to pass any changes quickly.

"The government has form on bringing things to Parliament at the last minute with not enough time to analyse it properly."

A report on election funding and donations in August this year recommended a donation disclosure threshold of $1000, compared to the current federal threshold of $13,800, and capping the campaign spending of House of Assembly candidates at $30,000.

Ms Forrest said the government review should come up a draft bill "very soon" to include a cap on donations, the level of disclosure and making disclosures in real time.

"It is really poor because it should have been done by now to allow the public time for feedback on any changes," she said.

Labor leader Rebecca White said after the last state election in 2018, Premier Will Hodgman promised to reform Tasmanias election donation laws "and yet nearly two years later there has been no change".

"But unless that report contains significant recommendations to improve the transparency about who donates to political parties and how much they donate then it will fail to meet the expectation of the community," Ms White said.

 "Tasmania has the weakest political donation disclosure laws in the country and Labor supports significant changes to make sure the community knows who is funding elections.

"If Will Hodgman has nothing to hide he will support Labors position on disclosing all donations to political parties over $1000 and making sure the public has this information within 14 days of donations occurring."

The Advocate Friday 13 December, 2019



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