Parliament should be ashamed by lack of reform: Oakeshott
AS THE two major political parties prepare for a windfall of more than $40 million in funding at the coming election, Independent MP Rob Oakeshott has hit out at political party funding reforms.
The reforms outlined in a bill included an extra dollar in taxpayer funding to be given to political parties for every primary vote they receive at the September election.
Mr Oakeshott and fellow independent Tony Windsor made a deal with the Gillard Government to ensure several donations reforms were completed by the end of last year.
Those reforms included public disclosure of any donations over $1000, improved transparency measures and other changes to level the playing field between independents, minor and major parties.
Former Special Minister of State Gary Gray failed to meet the deadline set out for the reforms last year, but his successor Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has reportedly made a deal with the Coalition on donation reforms.
Mr Oakeshott said the power of the dollar "has an influence over policy that cannot be underestimated".
He said he agreed with senior Labor Party figure Senator John Faulkner, that the parliament should no longer be angry or disappointed with the lack of reform, but ashamed.
Mr Oakeshott said if MPs were truly the representatives of the people, we should not be supporting some sort of washed out politically motivated reforms.
"This is a deal that shouldn't stand and both sets of MPs should be rattling the cages of their leaders that says how on earth could you cut a deal that sees $48 million of taxpayers money go into the kitty," he said.
"If this is what it's come to, then this is definitely one of those sad days.
"No one is really wanting to substantially address these reforms - when do we say enough - when do we say representation comes first?"
Mr Dreyfus said the bill would see reduce the threshold for donation disclosure to $5000, down from $12,100, and require reporting for donations from a single party exceed $5000 in a six month period.
He said any donation over $100,000 must also be reported to the Australian Electoral Commission within 28 days.
Mr Gray, who reportedly helped negotiate the deal, said moderate contributions to both sides of politics "makes out system better".
He said the measures outlined in the reported bill meant "our party structures can operate with greater integrity, not less".