Australia’s political finance laws are weaker than those in Russia, Thailand, South Korea and the United States, a global report claims.
Our “sparse” regulations that govern campaign donations put us behind 38 others in the list of 54 countries, the Money, Politics and Transparency report found.
Bangladesh, Croatia, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland and Turkey all have tougher political donation laws.
“As a result, corporations and individual donors pour a good deal of money into [Australian] politics, though ascertaining exact funding streams can be a difficult task,” the report said.
Australia’s ranking was penalised harshly for the fact there are few restrictions on donations, with only amounts above $13,000 requiring a public declaration.
Our laws were given a rating of 41, much lower than that of Georgia (93), Argentina (91), Mexico (89), Serbia (86), Colombia (84) and Albania (84).
The Australian legal ranking was also lower than Chile (82), Poland (82), South Korea (80), Slovenia (80), Romania (78), Croatia (78) and Costa Rica (78).
Even Brazil (76), Bulgaria (76), Bosnia and Herzegovina (73), Ecuador (73), the USA (71) and the Russian Federation (71) reportedly had tougher finance laws.
But when the global report examined how campaign finance worked in practice, as opposed to how it was written in law, Australia fared much better.
Nations like Russia may have tougher laws, but in reality our system works better, the report found.
In fact, only the UK and Costa Rica were better in practice, with the US equal to Australia.