On 17 August 2017, the Senate established the Select Committee into the Political Influence of Donations to inquire into and report, on 15 November 2017, on the following matters:
(a) the level of influence that political donations exert over the public policy decisions of political parties, Members of Parliament and Government administration;
(b) the motivations and reasons why entities give donations to political parties and political candidates;
(c) the use of shell companies, trusts and other vehicles to obscure the original source of political donations;
(d) how to improve the integrity of political decision-making through our political donations regime and the public funding of elections;
(e) any other related matters.
The report comprises six chapters, including the introductory chapter:
Chapter 2 provides an overview of the history behind the federal political funding and disclosure regime.
Chapter 3 discusses the risk of corruption through undue influence that is posed by donations under the current federal political finance regime. Examples of patterns of donations suggesting undue influence are also examined, as well as the nature, motivations and reasons behind political donations from large corporate interests.
Chapter 4 explores the options for regulating third parties in relation to their political activity and associated expenditure.
Chapter 5 examines in detail the significant barriers to transparency of the current political funding and disclosure regime.
Chapter 6 explores proposed reform measures to the political finance regime to safeguard the integrity of political decision-making.