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The Forum > General Discussion > Can we limit the influence of money on elections

Can we limit the influence of money on elections

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Elections are often decided by the size of the campaign fund available to the candidate. Real estate developers, unions, corporate entities and others with a stake in the outcome can contribute large amounts to the campaign funds of candidates in local, state and national elections. While this is presently legal one can raise questions about the process.

What does the contributor expect in return?

Should the amount of contributions from any one source be capped so no contributor can expect special treatment?

Should political advertising be banned?

Should candidates be obligated to face each other in open debate with opportunity for questions from the public?

Should the entire matter of campaign finance be examined with a view to overhauling the process by such means as government financing, anonymous contributors etc.?

In the United States the League of Woman Voters makes assessments of the candidates available to the public. There is a great degree of objectivity in these assessments. Can Australia have a similar group?

I think that people distrust the political process since they feel money buys elections, and those without money who donít represent an organised bloc of voters are left in the cold.
Posted by david f, Monday, 25 January 2010 10:16:27 AM
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The system must change David.Perhaps it should be limited to donations
by individuals only.The corporates control both the major parties here and else where in the West.

I have no faith in either of the major parties.
Posted by Arjay, Monday, 25 January 2010 3:07:16 PM
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Such ideas seemingly devalue the ability of voters to think.
And in fact many do not truly think.
However bet pounds to peanuts in next federal and NSW elections it will make no difference.
In NSW unless the sleeping conservatives put Turnbull in charge they will win an election they could fund with a weeks newspapers costs.
And without Turnbull? they still win an election with a leader with the charm and ability's of telegraph pole.
Federally show me please one election that evidence points to money spent being the X factor.
Posted by Belly, Monday, 25 January 2010 4:33:16 PM
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Belly; what planet are you on? Turnbull has nothing to do with NSW Politics.
Posted by Arjay, Monday, 25 January 2010 8:34:07 PM
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Perhaps one option would be to take all monies contributed and place them in a 'combined fund' to be distributed evenly to 'all' the relevent parties.

At least then we will soon see what the donators expect in return, for, if they stop donating then it would be obvious what their motives were.
Posted by rehctub, Tuesday, 26 January 2010 6:05:02 AM
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It is stating the obvious that donations are made to the party that will best favour the donor's economic position. It is not an altruistic act.

Banning political donations is the only way to go IMO. To enable all parties and Independents to campaign on an equal footing would only require access to media. Equal time to outline policies and platforms.

It is a difficult question for sure as there are costs involved with travelling around an electorate particularly sparser rural areas.

Rehctub's idea sounds good, but I bet the donations dry up if they were anonymous and equally distributed. Under this system a PayPal type third party could take the money without divulging the source and then distribute equally. It would not stop a business from revealing their intention to 'donate' nor would it necessarily stop secretive under-the-counter payments. But it is an interesting idea.
Posted by pelican, Wednesday, 27 January 2010 1:21:58 PM
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