Money and Influence: the shadowy world of political donations.
“We have a system where giving money can influence outcomes and that’s a soft form of corruption.”
As we head into the third week of the election campaign, Four Corners investigates just how transparent the political parties really are when it comes to revealing who their donors are and what is expected in return.
“What’s at stake is simply the quality of our democracy and the ability of people to have faith in their political institutions.”
It’s a world that operates far from public view with a patchwork of donation laws around the country. A variety of methods are used to keep the identities of donors secret, leaving voters hard pressed to find out just who is funding whom.
“Those sort of enterprises are very useful to people because they enable money to be channelled into political interests without full disclosure and in circumstances where the public can’t clearly see that there may be an outcome by virtue of those donations.”
Reporter Quentin McDermott, talks to influential figures operating in this world, who speak candidly about their experiences.
“I’ve spent a significant part of my life raising money in this way…(It) will always be a serious accident waiting to happen.” Fundraiser
“I think we were fairly standard in terms of organisations that were seeking to curry favour with our political masters…I think it was fairly plain that that bought access.” Donor
“I don’t think he gave out of the goodness of his heart, that’s for certain.” Politician
And in an exclusive interview with Four Corners, the regulator withholding more than $4 million dollars of funding destined for the Liberal party breaks his silence.