Sweeping electoral reforms to make elections fairer and more transparent

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced sweeping reforms to Queensland’s electoral system which will make elections fairer, more transparent and just.

“My Government will introduce caps on donations, limits on expenditure in electorates, and increase public funding to push back on attempts to buy elections,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“I will be bringing forward the Bill in the last Parliament sitting this year which will help restore integrity to our electoral system in this state.

“Under our proposals political donations will be capped at a maximum of $6,000 to candidates of the same party, $4,000 for parties and $4,000 to a maximum of six third parties over four years and election and electorate expenditure will also be capped.

“We will also increase public funding to clean up our system once and for all – and for the cost of a cup of coffee for every Queenslander, we can once and for all have a fair and democratic electoral system in Queensland.

“People are wanting a government brave enough to do what needs to be done in this space – and take money out of politics.”

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said she has already met with representatives from The Centre for Public Integrity – a collaboration of former judges and integrity experts whose board members include the Honourable Tony Fitzgerald AC QC – to discuss the nation-leading legislation.

“We will offer a briefing to all registered political parties in Queensland, peak bodies and interested parties – because we value their input,” Ms D’Ath said.

“These measures build on our wide-ranging suite of reforms.

“We want all Queenslanders to have a say, that is why this Bill will also be released for a 10-week consultation process with the legislation to be brought back by the end of February for debate so that we can start transitioning to the new reforms for the State Election in 2020.

“You cannot have donation caps without expenditure caps, because without that expenditure cap those with the most money who can fund their own campaign can still spend as much as they want flooding the airways.

“Whether they are third parties, independent candidates or political parties, everyone has a right to be heard.”

Ms D’Ath said increasingly there had been more calls for political parties, governments and Parliaments to implement electoral laws that are decent, equitable and do not allow those with the most money to have the loudest voice.

“We also want to make sure we take the politics out of this process.

“That’s why it is important that we get the best people providing us with the best advice and that is why we will provide a draft Bill to the Centre for Public Integrity before it’s introduced.

“Labor is very proud of our history and the electoral reforms we have already delivered, such as the $1000 donation threshold for disclosure and the strongest real time disclose system in this country which have led the way for other jurisdictions to follow.

“We call on the Federal Government to follow our lead and bring Commonwealth political donation laws into line with ours – the most comprehensive in the country.”

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