Former judges and leading experts today called for caps on electoral expenditure, real time disclosure of donations over $1000 and tighter post-separation employment restrictions as priority reforms in the wake of the 2019 election.

Former judge and Chair of The Centre for Public Integrity, the Hon Anthony Whealy QC, joined with Melbourne Law Professor Joo Cheong Tham and former Senator Tim Storer to submit a 15 point plan on undue influence to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which covers key reforms of our political donations and lobbying regulations.

“The Commonwealth has the weakest integrity laws in the country. Reform is crucial in the wake of the 2019 federal election,” the Hon Anthony Whealy QC said.

“There is no independent oversight of Commonwealth parliamentarians, ministers, political staff and public servants. Political influence can effectively be bought as a result of inadequate regulation of political donations and lobbying,” Mr Whealy said.

“The $70 million campaign spend by Clive Palmer, and the post-election industry jobs of Christopher Pyne and Julie Bishop provide ample evidence of the need for better regulation,” Mr Whealy said.

“Reform is critical to being restoring public trust in our democracy,” Mr Whealy said.

The key reforms outlined in the 15 point plan are:

  1. Caps on electoral expenditure
  2. Caps on political donations
  3. Transparency of political donations and electoral expenditure
  4. Increased public funding of political parties and candidates
  5. Regular reporting of gifts and interests
  6. Cap on government advertising
  7. Restrictions on Parliamentary entitlements
  8. Alignment of state and federal political finance laws
  9. Transparency of lobbying activities
  10. Codes of conduct strengthen and enforced
  11. Close the revolving door
  12. Ban cash for access
  13. Fair consultation process
  14. Statement of reasons
  15. Effective compliance and enforcement