'Admin' funds deal will further infuriate nation's voters
A MOVE by Australia's federal politicians to line their parties' pocket with millions in extra "administrative" funds will only add to the general malaise people feel about politics at the moment.
In a deal negotiated between the Gillard Government and Opposition, an extra $1 per vote will be added to administrative funding given to political parties at the coming election.
But the reforms sparked a backlash among members of both parties, after Labor Senator John Faulkner said he was "ashamed" of the move on Tuesday.
While the changes will include increased disclosure of donations over $5000, down from $12,100, it secures an extra funding stream for both major parties heading into the election.
A clause within the reforms will also backdate the pay-outs to April 1 this year, with about $2.5 million to be distributed as soon as the bills pass the Senate.
The deal represents a rare moment of bipartisanship in what has been a parliament marred by scandal, criminal allegations and negativity on both side of the aisle.
Australian National University Professor John Wanna said the deal was "clearly a move for the political parties to line their pockets".
He said he suspected it was proposed by the Labor Party, which was likely suffering from a fall in donations due to the government's expected loss come September.
"Usually you find the party that wins the election is the party that gets the most donations," Prof Wanna said.
"That isn't to say that the donations help them win, but rather, donors keep an eye on who's likely to win, and they will give their money to whoever they think will win.
"I think this is especially likely this election, because if Queensland's anything to go by, Labor faces a massive loss and we could even be looking at a decade of Coalition Government."
Prof Wanna said people were continually disappointed with politicians, with the general sense that politics was "a dirty business".
He said as many as 98% of politicians were "on the best wicket" they had been in terms of income, and were looking to cement their income.
"I don't think the perception that politicians are all corrupt is true, but certainly, as elected officials they are in a strategic position, and many would milk that position," Prof Wanna said.