Global Integrity Summit: are Australian political donations corrupt?


Global Integrity Summit debates Australia's political donation system.
Global Integrity Summit debates Australia’s political donation system.

Australia’s political donation system has come under fire at the Global Integrity Summit in Brisbane today.

Four panellists, Victor Perton, Erna Witoelar, Attiya Waris, and Stephen Mayne debated the legitimacy, timeliness, and public perception of Australian political donation systems.

Founder of news website and Melbourne City Councillor, Stephen Mayne said Australia’s political donation system is inherently corrupt and Australian civil society has a responsibility to speak out.

“It’s legal corruption, it’s a facilitation payment. By making a donation they [developers] were more likely to get a permit,” Cr Mayne said.

“We have the worlds worst system of transparency; it’s anything goes. There’s no limitation on spending and the disclosure is unwieldy, difficult to search, fragmented and late…”

Oppeus International senior advisor Victor Perton says the Australian politician donation system is a legitimate channel for interested parties to express their political views.

“If all of us gave ten bucks to the party of our choice… then you avoid [the donation system], but most people are not motivated to donate,” said Mr Perton.

“So we have a system in which those who are interested or passionate about politics… or where they have a particular interest, that is an inevitable part of almost any democratic system.”

Audience member and Supply Chain Manager for Queensland Government Darryl Altmann said he finds it insulting to imply that Australia’s political donation system was not corrupt.

“Political donations should be wiped out completely, unless individuals do it as individual public donations,” Mr Altmann said.

“No company donates money and join parliament without a pay off, it is an investment, and they want referential treatment.”


Bennet Nichol

With over seven years’ experience in journalism and media, I produce high quality, accurate content on a range of topics to a large variety of audiences. With a keen eye for original angles and a knack for breaking stories, I have personally been responsible for establishing, curating and developing readerships & content for national media brands including, Executive PA Media, Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times and The Age.

1 Comment

  1. […] The Global Integrity Summit, held in Brisbane last month, brought together some of the foremost thinkers on good governance and transparency to debate the Australian political donation system. Founder of and panellist at the summit Stephen Mayne thinks that Australia’s political donation system is essentially “legal corruption”. […]

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