New reforms set to promote honesty and integrity in politics in NSW
NSW Premier Mike Baird said the reforms, which include tougher penalties for candidates who break donations laws, will be in place before the 2015 election.
The reforms are set to reduce the influence of political donations, by lowering current caps on donations and campaign spending and increasing the amount of public funding available.
New legislation to be introduced into Parliament is set to include:
- Doubling penalties for a range of offences under the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosure Act.
- Preventing 3rd party arrangements being used to get around donation and spending caps – carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
- The provision for prosecutions for all offences to start up to 10 years after the offence was committed. The provision was previously set at 3 years.
- The requirement for parties to publicly disclose political donations received from 1 July 2014 to 1 February 2015, before an election commences.
“This package sends the strongest possible message to all current and prospective political candidates – comply with the law or face up to 10 years in jail,” Mr Baird said.
The Premier also said the package of reforms reflects the insights of the Expert Panel on donations reform, led by Dr Kerry Schott. The Expert Panel is due to deliver its final report by 31 December 2014, with recommendations for the long term reform of political donations.