Last week Premier Newman and LNP MPs looked likely to pass a pack of "Highest Bidder" laws that would mean no limits — no limits— on political donations to parties and candidates.
That was until hundreds of Getup members called their Members of Parliament, and the Government coincidentally decided to delay the vote.
The laws would mean that if Gina Rinehart, Rupert Murdoch or any high roller or big company wanted to give $100k, $1 million, or $10 million to the LNP, Labor or your local MP, they could. Even people convicted of corruption would have free rein to donate millions and to try to buy influence.
It’s clear that the outcry against leaving government open to the highest bidder is having an impact. Premier Newman is so nervous about it that he even sacked one of his own Ministers–Dr. Chris Davis–for raising concerns about the laws.
But tomorrow Parliament sits again and this is the week the laws will either pass or fail. So it’s time to make one final, all-in push against these "Highest Bidder" laws. Call your MP and tell them to vote no to the Highest Bidder laws.
All this comes in the shadow of last week’s revelations that the Head of Corporate Affairs for QCoal – one the LNP’s largest corporate donors – has been writing environment policy for the Liberal National Party since 2012. Just think of who could be setting policy once these laws pass. It also comes a week after Premier Newman passed changes that will take the teeth out of the watchdog that oversees political corruption.
What would the Highest Bidder laws do?
· Floods of Cash. Big companies, like QCoal, along with millionaires and billionaires could give unlimited money because Queensland’s current caps of $5,300 to a party and $2,200 per candidate would be stripped away
· Secret Money. More than $1.1 million from one source could be given secretly to MPs across Parliament without being declared.
· Raiding the Public Kitty. A new stack of taxpayer money — likely to be millions — would flow to the major parties, with the majority going to whichever party’s in power, helping to keep them there.
The worst kind of corruption is the kind that allows for more corruption and let’s the rot set in. These Highest Bidder laws will be like a cancer on Queensland politics for generations to come, because once the money flows in, it’s hard get it back out. That’s why we have to act now.
The maths are simple: Money = access = influence = power. We’ve seen it before in Queensland, and we’re seeing it now in New South Wales, where the Independent Commission Against Corruption is uncovering scandal after scandal, from $3,000 bottles of wine to huge developer-backed political slush funds.
Big money will choke any voice that Queenslanders have in government. So, when they’re legislating on the reef, the families who rely on tourism and a pristine Reef won’t be heard. On the environment, the victims of Queensland’s devastating floods won’t get a word in.
It’ll be government for the highest bidder, unless we stand up now to cut these laws down.