Dastyari, Turnbull donations: another example of how business figures gain influence?

Thursday, November 30, 2017 | Lee Rhiannon

Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has called for far reaching electoral funding reform in the wake of both Senator Sam Dastyari and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull links with questionable political donations.

"Political donations are having a corrupting influence on Australian political life, and they certainly add to the public's cynicism about what influences government decisions," Senator Rhiannon said.

“The current scandal around Senator Dastyari is also a story about the influence wealthy patrons exert on the political process and it is one that entraps both major parties.

“Huang Xiangmo has donated more than $1 million to the Labor Party, much of it raised by Senator Dastyari. 

“It is not just Labor that has benefited from Mr Xiangmo’s generosity. Mr Xiangmo heads up the property development company Yuhu Group. This company has donated to Liberal Party state branches in Victoria, NSW, WA and Tasmania.

“In another embarrassment for the Prime Minister it was revealed that just prior to the recent Queensland state election he dined with Liu Xiaodong, whose company Australian Energy Windfarm, donated to the Liberal National Party. 

“This latest scandal further underlines the urgent need for electoral funding reform. Successive Coalition and Labor governments have failed to act. 

“My Greens Private Members Bill to ban political donations from developers and the alcohol, gambling and tobacco industries is currently before the Senate. It could be debated as early as today.

“In the past decade the property industry have donated more than $21 million to political parties in Australia,” Senator Rhiannon said.

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