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Liberals must prioritise political donations reforms

The Liberal government needs to tell Tasmanians if it remains committed to political donations reforms after bumping Upper House debate on its own legislation to the bottom of the list.

The government only introduced its Donations Reform Bill after intense pressure from Labor – and even though the reforms do not go far enough, Labor debated them in good faith and they passed the Lower House last year.

The Bill should have been the first order of business for the Legislative Council in March, but instead, it has been relegated to last on the list, meaning it is extremely unlikely this will come on for debate at all.

Even if the current legislation is passed, Tasmania would still have the weakest political donation laws in the country but it is critical that reforms are made to allow anyone aspiring to public office to be able to run a competitive campaign.

Labor will continue pushing for important amendments to help level the playing field and restore public confidence in Tasmania’s political processes, including lowering the disclosure threshold to $1,000 and introducing spending caps for House of Assembly elections.

But the Liberal government needs to explain to Tasmanians why it is not prioritising debate on its own Bill and commit to moving it forward.

The Liberals have had 10 years in office to tighten our political donations laws and if they are stalling their own legislation, it’s clear they never will.

Tasmanians have a right to know who is donating to the state’s political parties and Labor will keep pushing for workable and fair legislation to ensure that they do.

May 22 2023

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