Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon says electoral donations reforms will unfairly target small parties.The n Greens say Malcolm Turnbull is scamming the n people when it comes to government plans for electoral donations reform.
The Greens are in discussions with Labor regarding the broad-ranging legislation, which they claim unfairly targets civil society and small parties.
“Clearly it needs to be rejected,” Greens senator Lee Rhiannon told reporters in Canberra on Monday as parliament returned for the first sitting day of the year.
“We need to start again. Political donation reform is urgently needed, but this is a con job.”
The Greens are concerned the legislation, which will allow the establishment of a public register for non-party political actors and prohibit donations from foreign governments and state-owned enterprises, means ns could face 10-year jail terms and massive fines if “they don’t get some paperwork right”.
“Meanwhile, big multinationals, foreign companies, are not captured at all by what the prime minister’s bill will do,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is running a major scam on the n people.”
The Greens are maintaining their call for the establishment of a national corruption watchdog to tackle reform.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said on Monday the government was “open-minded” to the idea of a watchdog, but there needed to be broad public consultation on it.
Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann claimed the bill would not ban or prevent charities from advocating for their stated cause in any way.
He singled out the role of progressive advocacy group GetUp.
“None of the requirements would apply merely to GetUp, but neither should GetUp be able to avoid the disclosure, transparency and reporting requirements,” Mr Cormann said.
“As a very significant political actor, GetUp should clearly be subject to the same transparency and disclosure requirements as other political actors such as political parties.”
Last week, chief advocate of World Vision , Tim Costello, compared the government’s foreign donation legislation with attempts to stifle dissent in Putin’s Russia.
He described the bill as a “very serious infringement” on “what we regard as civil society’s voice”.
The bill has been referred to a Senate committee which is due to report its findings by March 2.