13 February 2023
Another year, another release of data that highlights the mountains of dodgy money changing hands, from corporations to the major parties to fund their campaigns.
For more than two decades, the Greens have been undertaking the mammoth task of translating the raw data from the AEC transparency register into publicly accessibly information. Democracy For Sale has developed and grown through the work of thousands of volunteer hours, and is now a sophisticated database that paints a clear picture of where donations are coming from, who they are going to, and all the holes in the disclosure regime.
Over two decades of collating this information, little has changed: the big parties continue to rake in millions of dollars from the industries they are meant to be regulating.
And they claim there’s no conflict of interest? It is legalised bribery, and it just doesn’t pass the pub test.
Over the 9 years of the LNP government, secrecy, misconduct and rorts were exposed over and over. Money from donors kept coming in to both the major parties, and donors kept getting favourable policies, grants and contracts, approval of projects, and public subsidies.
At the May 2022 election, voters showed they were sick of big money running politics. They elected Greens and pro-democracy independent candidates in record numbers. There was a clear appetite to clean up politics, get climate action, and make sure that politicians were acting in the public interest, not the interests of their donor mates.
Will the new Labor government listen and work with the Greens and the independents to clean up politics?
The Greens have a bill to cap political donations to $1,000 per year no matter who the donor, and to ban donations from dirty industries with a track record of seeking to buy policy outcomes, including the fossil fuel sector. It’s a critical step towards removing the influence that has been a handbrake on climate action for far too long.
We will also keep pushing for more transparency, with better disclosure and faster disclosure of all donations, including “memberships”, subscriptions and cash-for-access events that currently don’t have to be disclosed.
Until then, Democracy for Sale remains a critical tool to see who’s buying influence.
Our team has done a huge amount of work collating and re-categorising the donation data so it is easier, faster and more reliable to search the site and find out more about the $$ these dirty industries are donating. We’d love you to explore the data for yourself.
If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback on this resource, do not hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.