So you may have heard, the PM of Australia is now having to answer to the people and the media why he personally donated $1.75m of his own money to his party immediately before the last federal election.
Or perhaps you heard of the now former Health Minister using taxpayer dollars to fly herself and partner to the Gold Coast with no notice (on a private jet – costing taxpayers ~$20,000!) and ended up buying an apartment “at a whim” worth almost $1m.
Or maybe the incident where the former Speaker of the House decided she did not want to be stuck in traffic on her way to a fundraising event, so decided to hire a helicopter to fly over the freeway traffic below, and billed the taxpayer $5000?
There have been plenty of examples of this sort of spending, and many more during the election campaigning. Signage, TV ads, Brochures, Automated phone calls to show us that they care…
Would it not be easier to implement a single fund. All political donations go into the one fund. It then gets divided up between the parties based on how many seats they currently hold (or for new micro parties, based on a predetermined amount per running candidate.
This would ensure that all parties were on a level playing field. It would ensure that “Big Mining” were not “buying off” a particular party, rather, their money was going into a pool for all parties. This way, each party would have a relatively balanced ground to sell their policies, ignoring who had more funding, or who donated to who. Focussing on policies!
It would also show the Australian public how each party could work within a budget.
If all spending was to be accounted for, and all spending stopped 1-2 weeks out from the election (when there is a media blackout anyway), the parties could then tell us how much they had left over (which would be returned to the pool for the following election, or spent on infrastructure etc) The voting public would then see if they received ‘value for money’ throughout the campaign, seeing how well each party could secure good business deals for printing, advertising, resources etc, as well as seeing that they are able to balance the books in a timely manner. After all, most parties carry on about “balancing the budget”, expecting people to liken the federal budget to a household chequebook, when they could not be further apart. Rather than talk the talk, show us your walk! Balance an electoral campaign, limit wasteful spending that usually amounts to numerous flyers that go straight to the bin, and spend wisely.
In this current climate, I think we could do with this level of scrutiny.