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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Premier in Western Queensland
    The Honourable Kerry Shine

    PREMIER ANNOUNCES TOUGH NEW DONATION LAWS

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Premier in Western Queensland
    The Honourable Kerry Shine

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    PREMIER ANNOUNCES TOUGH NEW DONATION LAWS

    Legislation will be introduced into State Parliament this week to toughen political donations laws and election funding entitlements, Premier Anna Bligh, announced today.

    Ms Bligh said the amendments to the Queensland Electoral Act 1992 would give Queensland the strongest reporting requirements in the country.

    She said breaches of the requirements could result in heavy fines or prison terms.

    “These reforms, following on from FOI changes last week, help deliver on my desire for great accountability and transparency in the political process,” Ms Bligh said.

    “We are adopting the key measures proposed by the Rudd Government and going even further.

    “They are still working on their legislation but there is no need for us to wait for them.”

    The amendments will include:

    • Cutting the threshold for reporting of donations. Currently donors of $1,500 or more to a registered political party must submit annual disclosure returns to the Electoral Commission of Queensland. This threshold will be cut to $1,000.
    • increasing public scrutiny of donations by reducing disclosure timeframes for donations from 12 months to 6 months. This will mean twice-yearly reporting. In addition disclosure returns must be made to the Electoral Commission of Queensland within 8 weeks instead of the existing 20 weeks.
    • banning donations from overseas or non-Australian companies. This amendment will ensure that political donations come from a jurisdiction where Queensland laws will apply and can be enforced.

    Ms Bligh the Queensland legislation would also introduce a further reporting requirement.

    “Any donation totalling $100,000 or more from any single donor must be reported to the Electoral Commission of Queensland within 14 days of making the donation,” she said.

    “These returns are in addition to the twice yearly reporting returns and must be made each time subsequent donations amounting to $100,000 or more are made by that donor in the reporting period.”

    Attorney General Kerry Shine said under the proposed Commonwealth amendments election funding would also be tied to reported and verified electoral expenditure directly incurred by a candidate or party.

    “In other words the amount of election funding a party or candidate is entitled to cannot exceed the actual amount spent by them, and verified by the Electoral Commission of Queensland, in relation to an election,” he said.

    “The Queensland Electoral Act already mandates this position, however, to maintain consistency with the Commonwealth Act, the Bill introduces amendments in the form of the wording with the Commonwealth Bill.”

    Mr Shine said to maintain consistency with established reporting financial guidelines, all amendments will be retrospective to 1 July, 2008.

    Donations totalling $100,000 or more from a single donor, made between 1 July 2008 and the commencement of these amendments, will need to be reported within 28 days of the legislation coming into force.

    25 August, 2008

    Contact: Premier’s office 3224 4500