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Aust industries ‘corrupt democracy’ | Blue Mountains Gazette

Political influence that would be seen as corrupt and illegal overseas is “business as usual” in Australia, according to a new report.

The report, Selling Out: How Powerful Industries Corrupt Our Democracy, details how the fossil fuel, tobacco and gambling industries are using their wealth to infiltrate Australian democracy.

The Human Rights Law Center report makes it clear that broad reforms are needed to fix the system, including enacting spending limits for candidates, parties and activists.

It also recommends that professional lobbyists be required to disclose meetings with politicians and advisers, that ministers publish their diaries, and that a federal integrity commission with broad jurisdiction be established.

HRLC lead lawyer Alice Drury said big business was “distorting democratic processes to achieve political results”.

“Australians support reforms to make our communities less dependent and our environment healthier, but the fossil fuel, tobacco and gambling industries are building political power to block sensible regulation,” she said. declared.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. There are solutions that our parliament could adopt tomorrow to strengthen our democracy and ensure that our elected representatives listen to us, the people.”

Noting that “the more damage an industry causes, the more political power it is likely to have,” the report says community wishes such as fewer slot machines and less smoking are being ignored.

He further recommended requiring timely public disclosure of contributions over $2,500 and banning “large and corrupting financial contributions” altogether.

“There are many things Australians can be proud of … but the health of our democracy is seriously undermined by weak integrity laws that govern bribery, political donations, lobbying and campaign spending,” reads -we.

Australian Conservation Foundation democracy campaigner Jolene Elberth said coal and gas companies had bought political influence that meant the best interests of the planet were not taken into account.

“This is why the Australian government has chosen a ‘gas stimulus’ over investing in renewables and why we have an inadequate national climate policy,” she said.

“We need common-sense integrity reforms so that our politicians listen to the communities they are elected to represent, rather than the corporations that fund their campaigns.”

The Australian Electoral Commission will publish the latest figures on political donations and spending on its Transparency Register on February 1.

Australian Associated Press