Premier leads push for NSW election funding reforms

Published 10th June, 2014

An expert independent panel has been formed to investigate NSW election funding laws, with reforms to follow.

Person placing envelope in ballot box
Person placing envelope in ballot box

The 3 member panel will be led by respected businesswoman Kerry Schott and include former Labor Deputy Premier John Watkins and former Liberal Shadow Attorney General Andrew Tink.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said he is determined to restore public confidence in NSW politics. He also said the panel are “people of the highest-calibre, widely-respected across the community”.

“I am determined to restore the public’s trust in NSW politics - the NSW Government will take whatever steps are necessary to increase transparency and accountability,” Mr Baird said.

“I’ve instructed the panel to consider the best way to remove any corrosive influence of donations in NSW politics”.

The Premier said the panel would report back to him by 31 December 2014 on options for long term reform of political donations including:

  • Whether full public funding of State election campaigns is feasible, or in the public interest and how to ensure the integrity of such a system;
  • What is the appropriate level to cap the expenditure on State election campaigns and how it should be determined;
  • Whether existing penalties for breaching donations laws are sufficient; and
  • What rules should apply to making donations and the appropriate frequency and timing of disclosure obligations.

Mr Baird said the Government had learned important lessons from recent ICAC investigations. He said the Government are keen to tackle the culture of hidden influence and expectations of access that can come with political donations. 

“This will be a thorough process to ensure we put in place a system that benefits this State for the long term and does not run into any legal or constitutional barriers,” Mr Baird said.

Published 10th June, 2014