The poker machine lobby has been generous in donating to political parties. Photo: John Woudstra Andrew Wilkie Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Second pokie lobby tips $45,000 into Andrews-linked fundPolitical leaders urge donations reformWho paid for Labor’s success in Victoria?
A federal MP claims Australia’s political donations system is little better than the sleazy cash-in-brown-paper-bag operations that occur in corrupt developing nations.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie lashed out the major parties and some of his crossbench colleagues for accepting “grubby money” from the gambling industry, which successfully rolled back his attempts to curb poker machine use in Australia.
He said large donations the gambling industry made to the political parties and to the Liberal MP and?then opposition spokesman?Kevin Andrews were made as investments in return, whether that be an immediate or eventual policy decision favourable to their vested interest.
“Any suggestion that that money didn’t influence policy is patent nonsense,” Mr Wilkie told the ABC on Tuesday.
He said the proof was in the fact that the modest reforms to curb poker machines made by the Gillard minority government were “quickly overturned” by the Coalition government with the support of Labor in the Senate.
“We in Australia rail at wads of cash in brown paper bags in other countries but our political donations system is little better,” Mr Wilkie said.
Mr Wilkie’s comments follow Fairfax Media’s revelations that Clubs NSW directly donated $20,000 to the Victorian fundraising body which supports Mr Andrews, when he was the Coalition’s spokesman for gambling policy, as well as $10,000 last year.?It has since emerged that the same fundraising body also received?a?donation?of $45,000 from another pro-pokie machines lobby group .
Mr Andrews says any suggestion his policies can be bought or influenced are “wrong and offensive.”?Fairfax Media does not suggest the donations directly influenced Mr Andrews’ decision making.But Mr Wilkie said the donation exposed a clear conflict of interest.
“It’s one thing to hand money over to a political party but to effectively hand it to the Shadow Minister … through another entity … frankly it makes this no better than large sums of money changing hands in a brown paper bag in a developing country,” he said.
Mr Wilkie said donations should be declared immediately and the disclosure threshold of $13,000 lowered.
The Labor Party also supports real-time declarations and voluntarily discloses all donations made to it above $1000.
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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.