it’s time to change the disclosure rules

Wentworth candidate Allegra Spender won’t reveal her donors because of bullying. It’s not good enough. All parties must immediately disclose all donors.

Allegra Spender (Image: Supplied)

One of the big myths peddled by opponents of political donation transparency is that being revealed as a donor will lead to intimidation. For example, the Coalition has consistently opposed any attempt to lower the current federal disclosure threshold to $1,000 on the grounds that, as Bronwyn Bishop and friends have said an investigation reportthis “will lead to potential intimidation of small donors”.

The image the Coalition wanted to evoke was of union thugs walking into a Liberal donor’s small business and pointing out that it was a nice shop and that it would be a shame if anything happened to it. Of course, not a single flicker of evidence has ever been shown to substantiate this.

How the times, if not the arguments, have changed. Allegra Spender, the independent candidate who hopes to end the short but already far too long political career of Wentworth MP Dave Sharma, say now she won’t reveal her donors in real time because they tell her: “I can support you but I can’t do it publicly because I have a contract with the government, I am on a board of directors , and I know that if I stand up and do so publicly, it will be threatened.This small business donor has clearly made progress in the world and now fears losing its place on a government-appointed board of directors.