Labor to introduce real-time disclosures and reduce thresholds

Politicians are expected to report political donations over $1,000 in real time as part of a sweeping package of integrity measures that Special Minister of State Don Farrell hopes to introduce by mid-2023.

Labor also wants to introduce ‘truth in political advertising’ laws and potentially double the number of senators assigned to the Northern Territory and the ACT, from two to four each. The proposals would be considered as part of an investigation by the Permanent Joint Committee on Electoral Matters.

Changes to political donation thresholds, disclosure rules and truth in political advertising laws are planned by the Labor Party.Credit:Andrew Meares

Real-time disclosure would mean, for example, that former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would have had to report the $1.75 million he gave to the Liberal Party in 2016, which he should not have disclosed under laws in force for more than a year.

Similarly, some ads that ran on social media platforms during the recent federal election could have been pulled under advertising laws.

Senator Farrell said age and The Sydney Morning Herald the set of proposals, which had opposed Labor politics, sought to offer “greater transparency and greater representation”.

With the Federal Parliament due to return in a fortnight, Farrell said the investigation could begin once the composition of the new committees had been decided.

“For example, right now you don’t have to disclose a donation that’s less than about $15,000. We want to bring it down to $1,000 and we want to look at real-time disclosure laws,” he said.

“We are not going to pass legislation until the JSCEM [the parliamentary committee] had the opportunity to see everything. And we would prefer to do these things by consensus. For us, it’s a question of transparency.

Many of the proposed changes are likely to find favor with the crossbench and the Greens, who already have similar policies, and the package adds to Labor plans to create a federal integrity commission.