Parties exploit funding loopholes - voters left in dark on donation sources
NSW Greens Media Release, 4 September 2008
Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said the latest data from the NSW Election Funding Authority reveals that while Labor has received millions of dollars in donations, voters at the coming local government election will not know who is bankrolling the candidates until 2009. (Sydney Morning Herald 4 September 2008 page 7)
"The figures show Premier Iemma's talk of donations reform is cheap and that he has failed to close the door on corporate donations," Ms Rhiannon said.
"The bulk of the donations for the local government election will be contributed in the weeks leading up to September 13. This money will not be publicly disclosed until February next year.
"While NSW Labor collected over $4.3 million from donations and fundraisers in the 14 month period from April 2007 to 30 June 2008 very little of this money is linked to local candidates.
"Labor has adopted the Liberal tactic of funnelling the bulk of donations through their head office. This avoids scrutiny by destroying any paper trail that links individual candidates with corporate donors.
"The Noreen Hay and Jodi McKay scandals would not come to light under Labor's new style of reporting
"Developers continue to invest in Labor with Walker Corporation donating $200,000 and Hong Kong property developer Kingson Investments donating $250,000.
"Greens analysis shows that NSW Liberals collected 15 per cent of the donations pocketed by NSW Labor.
"Donors see little distinction in policy between the major parties and put their money into the hands of the government of the day because it wields real power.
"The National Party failed to lodge a party return and have been granted a one month extension. This robs the public of the opportunity to scrutinise their returns before the upcoming council elections.
"The Iemma government in on the ropes. If the Premier honoured his promise to reform political funding he would take a significant step to restore his own credibility and most importantly the public's faith in the democratic process," Ms Rhiannon said.
For more information: 9230 3551, 0427 861 568
The recently released NSW Auditor-General's report supposedly gives the green light to the NSW Government's electricity privatisation legislation. NSW Premier, Morris Iemma, has seized on this and has announced that he may recall the NSW Parliament as early as next week in order to rush through the privatisation legislation.
The actual words from the report (pdf, 354K), which NSW Premier Morris Iemma claimed as a "stunning endorsement" of his government's plans were "... nothing has come to my attention that causes me to believe that the Government's strategy for the transfer of assets to the private sector ... is not appropriate for maximising financial value for taxpayers."
These read like weasel words, intended to satisfy the political needs of the Iemma Government whilst maintaining a facade that the Auditor General has fulfilled his responsibilities to hold the Government accountable to the NSW public.
NSW Greens Media Release: 26 July 2008
It's time for NSW Premier Morris Iemma to admit that the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme combined with widespread community opposition has fatally damaged his plans to privatise the state's electricity industry, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Commenting on a story on page 8 of today's Australian ('Iemma admits to sell-off doubt'), Dr Kaye said: "Morris Iemma is causing havoc in NSW's power industry in a futile attempt to position it for a sell-off that is increasingly unlikely to receive parliamentary approval.
"Pushing administrative staff out of state-owned retailer Integral Energy into generator Eraring could prove to be an expensive and disruptive political stunt.
"Given yesterday's report that 25 percent of the nation's coal-fired power generators will be forced out of business by the Commonwealth government's emissions trading scheme, NSW Coalition leader Barry O'Farrell will have little choice but to oppose the sell-off legislation when it come to parliament in late September.
"The news will have caused the sale value of NSW's three generator companies to have plummeted.
"Neither government nor Opposition can pretend that there is any financial benefit in the privatisation.
"Meanwhile, voters are increasingly focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and controlling rising household electricity bills.
"On both counts, the sell-off is bad deal.
"The political window of opportunity for the privatisation is slamming shut.
"The Premier should listen to his backbenchers, put his Treasurer Michael Costa on a tighter leash and abandon the power sell-off," Dr Kaye said.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455
See also: ABC gives free kick to Iemma, NSW electricity privatisation of 21 Jul 08.
When Barrie Unsworth complained on Sydney's local ABC radio of the New South Wales Labor Party's efforts to ensure that state Labor parliamentarians vote against the privatisation of NSW's electricity assets - a policy already rejected resoundingly by the electorate in 1999 and currently opposed by 79% of the NSW public - his interviewer Toni Matthews expresssed her total agreement with the former NSW Premier: "Why - It seems obvious to me - Why isn't it obvious to these younger members that you're talking about that they're creating mayhem within the party?"