George Rennie writes in The Conversation (1.2.18) that federal politicians are finally moving against political donations after repeated scandals, but the author contends that economics shows lobbying should be ended regardless.
‘Political donations and lobbying are a significant drain on the economy as it can damage competition, create monopolies and divert resources to unproductive uses.
‘Every February, the Australian Electoral Commission releases data on political donations for the previous financial year. The data routinely show that among the biggest corporate political donors are mining, infrastructure and defence companies and groups.
‘These are also those with the most to gain from government contracts, and the most to lose from increased regulation or taxation.
‘Corporations donate to politicians because of the access that it brings. Some economists have argued lobbying is actually good for society, as it allows smaller businesses to “free ride” on the political spending of larger businesses.
‘But this is predicated on the idea that whatever the big businesses want (whether this be tax cuts or reduced regulations) can benefit all companies.
‘… If corporations are incentivised to try to exploit governments, and governments are both the rule maker and breaker, then relying on the electorate to police its worst excesses is naive. Instead, we need highly specialised and independent bodies to tackle the problem.’
- Why businesses want the ear of government and are willing to pay for it »
- Coal lobby ads biggest third-party political expenditure in Australia »
- The truth about political donations: there is so much we don’t know »
- Federal government’s foreign donations bill is flawed and needs to be redrafted »
- Revealed: the extent of job-swapping between public servants and fossil fuel lobbyists »
- View from The Hill: The waves of ‘reputational damage’ spread far and wide »
- Tasmania’s gambling election shows Australia needs tougher rules on money in politics »
- Labor seeks inquiry into firm’s donations to Liberals despite financial trouble »
- Australia’s business lobby has mastered the art of dressing self-interest up as national interest »
- Australia’s political lobbying regime is broken and needs urgent reform »
- The revolving door between government and the alcohol, food and gambling industries in Australia »
- Our political donations and lobbying systems are out of control »
- Five things political donations tell us about how money is influencing Australian politics »
- Fossil-fuel industry doubles donations to major parties in four years, report shows »
- Jacqui Lambie and Greens criticise bid to reimpose weaker political donations laws »
- Federal parliament just weakened political donations laws while you weren’t watching »
- Soon to be against the law, but companies are lining up to pay for political access »
- Betting on a winner »