DAN Peled

Will Qld ban electoral donations from developers?

THE Sunshine Coast may have shown the ease with which greater transparency can be delivered to election campaign donations, but it is an example the State Government is slow to follow.

Annastacia Palaszczuk's exchange of letters with Nicklin Independent Peter Wellington in February 2015, which allowed her to form government, requires a review of donation disclosure laws.

Sunshine Coast peak community group OSCAR has set up a website - http://www.disclosure.oscar.org.au - which enables Sunshine Coast Council candidates to declare, ahead of the March 19 poll, who funded their campaigns and in what amounts.

The move is a first for Queensland. Most candidates have committed to register while others, including current Mayor Mark Jamieson, have committed to declaring their campaign donors and the amounts via other forums before the poll.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the government would formalise its response to the Crime and Corruption Commission's report into local government political donations in the coming months.

"The Palaszczuk Government will not shy away from pursuing legislative reform to improve transparency in local government in consultation with local government," Ms Trad said.

She failed to respond to questions about whether Queensland would follow the NSW lead of banning donations from developers and developers' associates.

Mr Wellington said he would catch up with Ms Trad to discuss the issue.

In December last year the Crime and Corruption Commission handed down a report, Transparency and Accountability in Local Government, which found failure to require donation declaration before polling day hampered voters' ability to make an informed decision about a candidate.

"Given how easy it is to submit and register many types of documents electronically, the CCC believes that it should be possible for campaign donations to be declared via online or electronic submission on an ongoing basis throughout a campaign, with a significantly shorter time frame for compliance," the report found.

"In that way, declarations would be more useful to the public in helping them determine the suitability of a candidate before polling day. This would also allow for a more timely consideration of compliance with the statutory requirements regarding disclosure."


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