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Greens would ban developer political donations

By Charlotte Harper - 29 August 2016 13

Indra Esguerra

ACT Greens democracy spokesperson and candidate for the ACT Legislative Assembly seat of Ginninderra Indra Esguerra says her party would ban political donations from property developers, bringing the ACT into line with NSW.

The Greens have previously announced a policy for an independent anti-corruption watch dog for the territory.

Ms Esguerra, who is an adviser to Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, said the territory’s political donations laws had been watered down so badly that they had become woefully inadequate.

“Property developers do not give hundreds of thousands of dollars to political parties for fun, they do it because it’s worth their while,” she said.

“Ever since the Labor and Liberal parties teamed up to overturn the Greens’ nation-leading donation laws, we’ve seen a huge surge in developer donations.”

Ms Esguerra noted that since the laws were changed, the Canberra Liberals had taken donations from local developers including Amalgamated Property Group, the Molonglo Group, Village Building Company, the Englobo Group, Geocon, Civium Property, and Chase Building and interstate developers including J and M Nassif Property, Merc Shoppingtown, M Projects, Statewide Planning and Toplace.

At least six property developers had purchased special memberships of ACT Labor, including Quay Building Group, Hindmarsh Corporate, Dexar Group, Dowse Projects, SHL Developments, and the Molonglo Group.

“The major parties are doing a disservice to us all – not only by accepting these donations, but pursuing them through fundraising and special membership categories,” Ms Esguerra said.

“Other parts of the country, like NSW, waited until it was too late to clean up their laws. We need to learn from their mistakes – and assure Canberrans that they can have total confidence in our planning system and government decisions.”

The Greens package will also ban donations from corporations, cap individual donations at $5000, and require continuous disclosure of political donations on a public website.

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13 Responses to
Greens would ban developer political donations
1
Garfield 2:29 pm
29 Aug 16
#

My understanding was that the previous ban on donations from corporations was changed because there were concerns about its constitutionally validity, or something along those lines. As for continuous disclosure of donations, that exists now on the Elections ACT website for donations of $1,000+, with donations made in the election period needing to be disclosed within 7 days. I’m not sure of the thinking behind parts of the Greens platform.

2
justin heywood 2:51 pm
29 Aug 16
#

While I applaud the idea, there is a counter-argument that at least under the present system we have SOME knowledge of who is paying who. There is a danger that under a ban political funds might simply be supplied through unseen, darker channels.

Who is going to work out which money is pure and which is not?

Developers are not the only dubious sources of funds. How about the 1973 Foundation (pokie money given a light rinse), law firms, civil construction firms, IT firms and many others who may well be motivated to seek favours in return for their generosity.

And who knows the motivations of the many the individuals who give thousands each year to all parties, or to the source of the money they give?

I suggest a ban on donations from ANY corporate entity, and a limit on private donations of, say $1000.

But I doubt any party will go for that idea.

3
devils_advocate 4:14 pm
29 Aug 16
#

It would be interesting to compare the level of donations received by the Greens, compared to those of the two major parties. That answer isn’t determinative of the merits of the proposal, but could prompt a more even-handed discussion about the motivations for it.

I think the discussion would also benefit from an outline of what uses are permitted for such donated money, and to what uses they are mainly put. Surely a few placards by the side of the road every 4 years can’t cost that much.

4
Blen_Carmichael 4:59 pm
29 Aug 16
#

“Indra Esguerra says her party would ban political donations from property developers…”

I take it Indra doesn’t have a problem with the Greens accepting donations from the building site workers employed by property developers?

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/donations-disclosure-finds-cfmeu-labor-clubs-give-big-20150201-133kr0.html

5
dungfungus 5:35 pm
29 Aug 16
#

I find it sort of hypocritical that The Greens will accept $1.4 million from someone worried about climate change http://www.smh.com.au/national/web-millionaire-bankrolled-greens-20110107-19iw9.html
Mr Wood wasn’t a property developer, he was a travel agent who made his money from customers travelling in those greenhouse gas belching jumbo jets.
Which is the lesser evil?

6
Coco_Black 12:16 am
30 Aug 16
#

Will the Greens ‘bring the ACT into line’ with the Federal election funding of $2.62 per vote? Or are the Greens happy to accept $8 per vote too?
– Now, not really that different from the Labor and Liberals, after all – are we?

7
rommeldog56 7:19 am
30 Aug 16
#

As I recall (I hope correctly), it was the ACT Greens Rattenburry who opposed the increase paid by ACT Ratepayers per vote from $2 odd to $8. Both ACT Labor and ACT Liberal voted for it – to their eternal disgrace. So it passed.

It would probably be unlikely that ACT Labor/Liberals would reverse that I would think. It represents too much $ for them.

8
2604 10:59 pm
01 Sep 16
#

While they’re at it, why don’t they ban union donations to political parties?

After all, there is no practical difference between government planning decisions which enrich wealthy property developers, and government procurement and policy decisions which enrich wealthy union officials. In fact, there is a difference – namely, that government makes such decisions in favour of union officials all the time.

For example, why do ACTION bus drivers get paid $120,000 per annum to do an unskilled job for which they should be paid minimum wage or close to? Because they are nearly all unionised and their union is a big donor to ACT Labor. ACTION in its current guise costs ACT ratepayers near to $120 million per annum. Someone like Ron Murray could run the network for half that cost using non-union labour, with the $60 million in savings every year being pocketed by rate payers and spent in the local economy.

Likewise, why do Canberra garbage and recycling truck drivers get paid $95,000 p.a to do another minimum wage job – a cost which is passed through to rate payers? Because they too are nearly all unionised and the TWU is able to determine which company is awarded the garbage collection tender thanks to the MOU between ACT Labor and the ACTU.

Ever wondered why we’re getting a light rail network which we neither need nor want? Because it’s going to be a bonanza for the CFMEU during the construction phase, and a bonanza for the TWU once operational. Which two parties are responsible for this ridiculous and costly boondoggle? Labor and the Greens, both of which are on the union payroll.

If the Greens want any votes at all at the upcoming ACT election, they need to stop insulting our intelligence with this undergraduate socialism BS and get their own house in order.

9
devils_advocate 12:10 pm
06 Sep 16
#

2604 said :

While they’re at it, why don’t they ban union donations to political parties?

After all, there is no practical difference between government planning decisions which enrich wealthy property developers, and government procurement and policy decisions which enrich wealthy union officials. In fact, there is a difference – namely, that government makes such decisions in favour of union officials all the time.

For example, why do ACTION bus drivers get paid $120,000 per annum to do an unskilled job for which they should be paid minimum wage or close to? Because they are nearly all unionised and their union is a big donor to ACT Labor. ACTION in its current guise costs ACT ratepayers near to $120 million per annum. Someone like Ron Murray could run the network for half that cost using non-union labour, with the $60 million in savings every year being pocketed by rate payers and spent in the local economy.

Likewise, why do Canberra garbage and recycling truck drivers get paid $95,000 p.a to do another minimum wage job – a cost which is passed through to rate payers? Because they too are nearly all unionised and the TWU is able to determine which company is awarded the garbage collection tender thanks to the MOU between ACT Labor and the ACTU.

Ever wondered why we’re getting a light rail network which we neither need nor want? Because it’s going to be a bonanza for the CFMEU during the construction phase, and a bonanza for the TWU once operational. Which two parties are responsible for this ridiculous and costly boondoggle? Labor and the Greens, both of which are on the union payroll.

If the Greens want any votes at all at the upcoming ACT election, they need to stop insulting our intelligence with this undergraduate socialism BS and get their own house in order.

According to the ACTION enterprise agreement, bus drivers start on around $66k and end up at about $78k for their nominal annual salary. Now, I acknowledge it may be possible for a single bus driver to earn significantly more than that, but this would be through overtime, penalty rates etc such as working on holidays. So saying that they are earning $120k for unskilled work is probably misleading as to get that salary they would need to be working holidays, nights, etc.

10
pink little birdie 1:50 pm
06 Sep 16
#

2604 said :

While they’re at it, why don’t they ban union donations to political parties?

After all, there is no practical difference between government planning decisions which enrich wealthy property developers, and government procurement and policy decisions which enrich wealthy union officials. In fact, there is a difference – namely, that government makes such decisions in favour of union officials all the time.

For example, why do ACTION bus drivers get paid $120,000 per annum to do an unskilled job for which they should be paid minimum wage or close to? Because they are nearly all unionised and their union is a big donor to ACT Labor. ACTION in its current guise costs ACT ratepayers near to $120 million per annum. Someone like Ron Murray could run the network for half that cost using non-union labour, with the $60 million in savings every year being pocketed by rate payers and spent in the local economy.

Likewise, why do Canberra garbage and recycling truck drivers get paid $95,000 p.a to do another minimum wage job – a cost which is passed through to rate payers? Because they too are nearly all unionised and the TWU is able to determine which company is awarded the garbage collection tender thanks to the MOU between ACT Labor and the ACTU.

Ever wondered why we’re getting a light rail network which we neither need nor want? Because it’s going to be a bonanza for the CFMEU during the construction phase, and a bonanza for the TWU once operational. Which two parties are responsible for this ridiculous and costly boondoggle? Labor and the Greens, both of which are on the union payroll.

If the Greens want any votes at all at the upcoming ACT election, they need to stop insulting our intelligence with this undergraduate socialism BS and get their own house in order.

Action and the Garbage truck drivers I believe have issues with recruiting at the moment. Just because you think they should be minimum wage jobs doesn’t mean they are. Also I personally don’t want minimum wage drivers to be driving buses of large trucks.
I’m pretty sure driving a bus is quite hard to begin with and then there are the people you have to deal with. I believe people on minimum wage wouldn’t cop the abuse that bus drivers do for very long – leading to high turnover which is more expensive than paying a decent wage.

11
Mordd / Chris Richar 1:58 pm
06 Sep 16
#

Generally, although I editorialise some issues, I try to normally avoid taking very specific stances on particular issues, as opposed to just giving my viewpoint of the issue. However on the issue of political donations I am making an exception.

Mordd – IndyMedia (Chris Richards) is officially calling for a Ban on all political donations by Foreigners, Business, Unions, or NGO/Charity. Cap Individuals at $2.5K-5K max per year. Increase existing Electoral Funding to make up the shortfall. #StopTheRot #Corruption #Bribery #MoneyOutOfPolitics

Image Meme (Credit: Mordd – IndyMedia) : http://imgur.com/fk0C9PB.jpg

12
rommeldog56 2:29 pm
06 Sep 16
#

2604 said :

While they’re at it, why don’t they ban union donations to political parties?

After all, there is no practical difference between government planning decisions which enrich wealthy property developers, and government procurement and policy decisions which enrich wealthy union officials. In fact, there is a difference – namely, that government makes such decisions in favour of union officials all the time.

For example, why do ACTION bus drivers get paid $120,000 per annum to do an unskilled job for which they should be paid minimum wage or close to? Because they are nearly all unionised and their union is a big donor to ACT Labor. ACTION in its current guise costs ACT ratepayers near to $120 million per annum. Someone like Ron Murray could run the network for half that cost using non-union labour, with the $60 million in savings every year being pocketed by rate payers and spent in the local economy.

Likewise, why do Canberra garbage and recycling truck drivers get paid $95,000 p.a to do another minimum wage job – a cost which is passed through to rate payers? Because they too are nearly all unionised and the TWU is able to determine which company is awarded the garbage collection tender thanks to the MOU between ACT Labor and the ACTU.

Ever wondered why we’re getting a light rail network which we neither need nor want? Because it’s going to be a bonanza for the CFMEU during the construction phase, and a bonanza for the TWU once operational. Which two parties are responsible for this ridiculous and costly boondoggle? Labor and the Greens, both of which are on the union payroll.

If the Greens want any votes at all at the upcoming ACT election, they need to stop insulting our intelligence with this undergraduate socialism BS and get their own house in order.

Alleged ACTION driver salary aside, I fully agree with this. The donations by the Unions (presumably to Labor/Greens mostly) must be stopped as should the anti ACT Liberal advertisements by the Unions – they are misleading at best.

13
Deref 12:14 pm
19 Sep 16
#

Good start. Now how about banning political donations altogether – or at least limiting them to small donations from identified individuals on the electoral roll.

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