Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
Date: Monday, 9 April 2018
We welcome the unanimous report and recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in relation to the Government’s proposed Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill, including our proposed ban on foreign political donations.
The Government particularly welcomes the cross-party support for the Government’s core proposition that for the ban on foreign political donations to be effective it should apply to all relevant political expenditure, including political expenditure incurred by charities.
Indeed, it has always been the Government’s view that to exclude charities from any ban on foreign political donations would make such a ban entirely ineffective as it would create a significant loophole.
It would also be inconsistent with Labor’s own bill designed to ban foreign political donations in relation to all political expenditure, including political expenditure by charities.
The Government has always been clear that we would be open to JSCEM recommendations on how our proposed Bill could be further improved.
In particular, it is a matter of public record that we are open to pursue amendments to our proposed Bill to ensure compliance arrangements for all political actors, including relevant charities, are as efficient as possible.
The Government very much appreciates the constructive approach and the goodwill demonstrated by all members of JSCEM in the course of this inquiry and with its considered assessment of our Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill.
We will now give due consideration to all the recommendations of the Committee and act on those as appropriate.
Karen Wu - 0428 350 139