Public funding of political parties and elections is an important way to remove the influence of corporate and organisational donations on the political system and to support minor parties to engage with the voting public. With the right controls it can help to limit the arms-race of major party spending that we have seen in the past and create a more pluralistic political system where different views can be effectively expressed.
The current inquiry and the submission by the Shooters for a tripling of administration funding for the smallest of parties when such substantial increases have only just recently been introduced raises questions about the use of administrative funding and the operation of that part of the act. It also risks undoing the effect of limiting corporate and organisational donations in the first place.
The sequence of events so far in relation to this inquiry into administrative funding for minor parties raises the question: where are the political voices calling for the protection of the public good that comes from an equitable public funding model? Premier O’Farrell’s credibility, built through championing donations reforms earlier this year, now risks being undone by political deal making.