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Premier delivers tough new Code of Conduct to reform political fundraising and lobbying in Victoria

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Premier Ted Baillieu has released a tough new Fundraising Code of Conduct that includes sweeping reforms to fundraising practices in Victoria.

The landmark reforms will also apply to former members of parliament, senior staff and party officials who now work as lobbyists.

"The new Fundraising Code of Conduct provides a clear set of guidelines and all Coalition members will be required to comply with it," Mr Baillieu said.

"These are major reforms for transparency and accountability of government members in Victoria, the new Code will serve to provide confidence for the community and certainty for government members in performing their duties as Members of Parliament," Mr Baillieu said.

The new Code addresses a number of areas that have in previous years caused community concern, including:

  • A Minister or Parliamentary Secretary or Government Member will no longer be able to solicit or receive direct donations.
  • Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and Government Members will not be permitted to operate any bank accounts for the receipt and distribution of campaign or political fundraising proceeds.
  • Corporate fundraising events can no longer promote privileged access to decision-makers or Ministers.
  • Neither ministerial offices nor department facilities can be used for political fundraising purposes.
  • Proceeds from fundraising events and activities of supporter groups will be required to be paid into an account with the central office of the Liberal or National Party organisations. Neither Members of Parliament nor Ministers will be able to manage these accounts.

In addition, for the first time the Government Code will also require public disclosure to the AEC within one month of receipt of any donation of more than $100,000 or when aggregate total receipts from a donor equal or exceed $100,000 in any one financial year.

The new code also includes sweeping reforms for the activities of lobbyists and former politicians or senior staff employed in government affairs or related roles, including:

  • the banning of success fees for a person, company or organisation engaged in the tendering or awarding of a public project from the Victorian Government or State Public Sector bodies;
  • compulsory and proactive disclosure to the Registrar of Lobbyists of former positions by any person who has held the position of National or State Secretary/Director or Deputy or Assistant Secretary/ Director of a registered political party and who holds the position of Corporate Affairs/Government Affairs Director or a similar position who is engaged in making representations to government;
  • the amendment of the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct to require former Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to register and declare their former status when making representations in a professional capacity, whether employed as a lobbyist or as a Corporate Affairs/ Government Affairs Director or in a similar position; and
  • the requirement for any person who has been a Chief of Staff, Senior Adviser or Adviser in the private office of a Commonwealth or State Minister, or Parliamentary Secretary, and who is acting as a professional lobbyist, or Corporate Affairs/Government Affairs Director (or a similar position) of a business or organisation engaged in making representations to government to disclose that former position to the Registrar of Lobbyists and to proactively declare their former status when making representations to government.

Mr Baillieu said the new Fundraising Code of Conduct was available to the Opposition and other parties and it would be up to those parties whether they would also adopt the new standards of the code and apply them to all fundraising activities.

Mr Baillieu will write to the Prime Minister offering to work co-operatively to further address, on a fair and bipartisan basis, national electoral funding and disclosure issues.

"A strong, vibrant political system is in the community's interest and given the primary role of the Commonwealth in establishing the legal framework for political donations and disclosure it is important that there is a consistent approach," Mr Baillieu said.

"The Victorian Government is willing to work with the Commonwealth Government to further improve the laws regulating fundraising and disclosure," Mr Baillieu said.

Attached: Victorian Government Fundraising Code of Conduct

pdfDownload PDF 76.90 Kb
pdfVictorian Government Fundraising Code of Conduct 646.16 Kb

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