Proposed Electoral Reforms Not Good Enough for Good Government

The Gutwein Government has released its report in response to its review into Tasmania’s Electoral Act and associated election laws.

“The report and recommendations, while welcome, do not provide enough concrete commitments. The Government has sat on the review for too long to still have such vague plans. Paying lip-service to change does little to solve Tasmania’s democracy crisis,” said Eloise Carr, Director of the Australia Institute Tasmania.

“It is not enough for there to be a recommendation to set a donation disclosure threshold, but not what the threshold should be. They say there should be consideration of a prohibition on donations from certain industries, but not a recommendation to actually do so, nor which industries they recommend to prohibit.

“This is a missed opportunity for Tasmania to emerge as a national leader in good government. Tasmanians are entitled to detailed proposals for reform, for them to weigh up against other jurisdictions. A donation disclosure threshold of $1,000 is reasonable, and $5,000 should be dismissed as way too high.

“Compared to other Australian states, Tasmania has weaker political donation laws, less government transparency and limited public accountability. This report leaves these problems largely unaddressed.

“Missing from the Government’s plans are reforms on Right to Information, bans on donations from property developers and gaming companies, measures to strengthen the Tasmanian Integrity Commission or to adopt truth in political advertising laws,” Ms Carr said.

The Australia Institute has previously published recommendations for much needed political reform in Tasmania. The report, Good Government in Tasmania advocates a co-ordinated approach to reform across:

  • Tasmanian Integrity Commission
  • Truth in Political Advertising
  • Election Donations Reform
  • Right to Information

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