Australian politics Opinion: The foreign donation bill is a smokescreen to attack civil society – Lee Rhiannon in The Guardian

The government claims they’re finally listening to Australians and addressing political donation reform. But they’re not

Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon. ‘Instead of tackling the issue of big money, the Turnbull government ignores the evidence, ignores the public outcry for change’

Australian democracy has been under threat for some time. There is a group of political operators who are able to walk the halls of parliament, arrange meetings with decision-makers at the drop of a hat, funnel big money into political parties, and influence regulations, policies and legislation. Nobody reading this will be surprised when I say that this group of powerful political operators comprises corporations and industry lobby groups.

However, unless you’ve been following the Turnbull government’s electoral funding and disclosure reform bill, you might be surprised to learn that apparently there is a bigger threat to democracy, a more powerful group of political operators in Australia – charities and community groups. That is the laughable idea the Turnbull government would have you believe.

After years of donations scandals including the jailing of disgraced MPs; after witnessing the revolving door between powerful industries and MP and political staffer positions; and after over $1bn in political donations have been made – the government claims they’re finally listening to the people of Australia and addressing political donation reform.

Only, they’re not.

The Turnbull government is using the overwhelming public appetite for politics to be cleaned up as a smokescreen for pushing through legislation that will curtail the activities and voice of charities and community groups.

Tim Costello, the Human Rights Law Centre, the Hands Off Our Charities Coalitionand many others have highlighted the disastrous consequences this legislation will have on our civil society if allowed to pass.

There is a glaring discrepancy in this bill. Not only does it act as a smokescreen for the government to attack civil society, it completely fails to address the actual, documented threat to our democratic system – big money.

Please go on reading this article in The Guardian here: