The reform of political donations, expenditure and funding

16 Dec 2008

This paper considers the constitutional and practical constraints upon reforming electoral campaign funding in Australia. It addresses the banning or capping of political donations, the limiting of campaign expenditure and the expansion of public funding of political parties. In doing so, it draws on the experience of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Germany. It examines the constraints imposed by the freedom of political communication implied from the Australian Constitution and the application of any constitutional principle of equality as well as the difficulty for a State in reforming campaign financing in a manner that does not unconstitutionally affect other jurisdictions within the federation. It also addresses the practical problems involved in defining political donations and expenditure, preventing avoidance and establishing a system that is effective and administratively workable.


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