Donations and lobbying can be used to gain privileged access to decision-makers within a party, especially if it is in government, by elevating a donor's or lobbyist's proﬁle. Candidates and political parties also obtain donations through fundraising activities, requests for in-kind support, direct payments and via associated entities. Together these factors have the potential to compromise a Member of Parliament or Councillor once elected.
These are matters which can erode public trust in the people and institutions that are relied on to make decisions in the public interest. Repeated calls to strengthen donation regulations point to regulatory gaps and opportunities for improvement, while investigations in other jurisdictions highlight relative weaknesses of the Victorian framework.
IBAC has identified several areas of risk in relation to donations and lobbying, as well as opportunities for regulatory improvement.