Leading integrity experts have advocated for a revision of Victoria’s political donation laws, suggesting that they currently favour Labor and the Coalition. The Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, made a submission to a review of the 2018 donations reforms initiated by the Andrews government. While acknowledging some improvements, the Centre expressed concern that the current rules might perpetuate incumbency and hinder political equality. The Centre’s research director, Catherine Williams, underlined the need for campaign spending caps to ensure genuine competition and reduce dependency on private funds. Notably, Victoria and Western Australia remain the sole states without such caps. Analysis indicates that states with spending caps witnessed a decline in campaign expenditure. The Centre’s submission also sought the removal of exemptions allowing major parties to have a “nominated entity” for receiving uncapped donations, noting that such exemptions favour Victoria’s main parties. Calls have also been made to refine definitions and increase transparency and speed in donation disclosures.

This is a summary of “For major parties, spending arms race means odds are ever in their favour” published in The Age on July 13, 2023, written by Royce Millar. Read it in full here.