Mike Richards GLA310116CABN

OUR SAY: Calling time on donations

THE State Government's move to real-time declaration of political donations has not come soon enough and should go further.

Nicklin independent Peter Wellington deserves praise for making the issue an element of his exchange of letters with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk which enabled her to form government and for following through with that commitment.

The Sunshine Coast Daily partnered with the community groups OSCAR and Development Watch and through the cooperation of most Noosa and Sunshine Coast Council candidates at the recent local government elections to show in a crude form that real-time disclosure was possible and of value.

The exposure of donation irregularities on the Gold Coast which have led to a CCC investigation plus two separate inquiries, the report of the second of which was published only in December last year, all give ample evidence of why reform is necessary.

The Premier must now seriously consider the capped public funding of election campaigns as a way to remove for good the perception of access and favour being purchased at the expense of confidence in our democratic system.

The present system of interest declaration is unworkable. How a second or third-term councillor for instance can expect to keep track of potential conflicts as a result of donations made one, two or three election cycles ago is difficult to understand.

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